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Min Fan, Yike Gao, Yaohui Gao, Zhiping Wu, Hua Liu and Qixiang Zhang

Simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers are valuable for genetic and breeding applications, but SSR resources for the ornamental genus chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum ×morifolium Ramat.) are still limited. Expressed sequence tags (ESTs) are sources of SSRs that represent an opportunity to develop SSRs to accelerate molecular breeding in chrysanthemum. In total, 4661 SSR loci were identified from 3823 SSR-containing unigenes in the chrysanthemum transcriptome with an average of one SSR per 6.98 kb. Of these SSR sequences, trinucleotide repeats (30.0%) predominated, followed by dinucleotide repeats (17.9%). In total, 1584 primer pairs were subsequently synthesized. By screening the parents and six individuals of the F1 progeny, 831 (52.5%) valid EST-SSR markers were identified, of which 361 (43.4%) were polymorphic. The annotation of unigenes containing polymorphic SSRs indicated that 330 (93.5%) demonstrated significant homology to other plant protein sequences. Twenty-five polymorphic EST-SSR markers were further selected for transferability analysis and exhibited 93% amplification in six Ajania species and six other Chrysanthemum species. Based on genotyping of the 59 samples, neighbor-joining analysis revealed six phylogenetic groupings, which was confirmed by population structure analysis and principal component analysis (PCA). Phylogenetic relationships among the 59 samples revealed by SSRs were highly consistent with the traditional taxonomic classification of Chrysanthemum and Ajania. The polymorphism information content (PIC) values ranged from 0.29 to 0.86, with a mean of 0.67, indicating high levels of informativeness. This research reveals the SSR distribution characteristics of chrysanthemum and provides a large number of new EST-SSR markers for further genetic diversity studies, genetic mapping, and molecular marker-assisted selection breeding for chrysanthemum.

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Zhuping Fan, Yike Gao, Ling Guo, Ying Cao, Rong Liu and Qixiang Zhang

Bearded iris (Iris ×hybrida Hort.) is a large horticultural hybrid complex in the Iris genus, and the lack of understanding about its inheritance laws has seriously hindered the breeding process. From parental bearded iris ‘Indian Chief’ and ‘Sugar Blues’, four hybrid populations—including F1, F2, BC1P1, and BC1P2—were generated through hybridization. Fifteen key phenotypic traits, including plant height (PH), scape height (SH), length of fall (LF), width of fall (WF), length of standard (LS), width of standard (WS), and so on, were measured, and several genetic parameters (e.g., trait variation, heritability, trait correlation, distribution of flower color) were analyzed. The variation of phenotypic traits indicated that the F1 generation could produce larger flowers and a greater number of blooming stems than other generations, whereas backcrossing was beneficial at producing more flowers on one scape in the offspring of ‘Indian Chief’ and ‘Sugar Blues’. WF had the greatest broad-sense heritability (73.91%) among the 15 phenotypic traits, whereas the broad-sense heritability of SH was the lowest (2.06%). The correlation between a vegetative trait (PH) and a reproductive trait (WS) provided a path to early selection of germplasm. Furthermore, four important floral traits (LF, WF, LS, and WS) also correlated significantly to each other, thus simplifying the selection of larger flowers. Genes regulating fuchsia flower color were dominant over those for bluish purple flowers. Genetic effects of flower color in recurrent parents could be reinforced by backcrossing, thereby providing a potential way to modify flower color through hybridization.