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Gennaro Fazio, Yizhen Wan, Dariusz Kviklys, Leticia Romero, Richard Adams, David Strickland and Terence Robinson

The ability of certain apple rootstocks to dwarf their scions has been known for centuries and their use revolutionized apple (Malus ×domestica) production systems. In this investigation, several apple rootstock breeding populations, planted in multiple replicated field and pot experiments, were used to ascertain the degree of dwarfing when grafted with multiple scions. A previous genetic map of a breeding population derived from parents ‘Ottawa 3’ (O.3) and ‘Robusta 5’ (R5) was used for quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis of traits related to scion vigor suppression, induction of early bearing, and other tree size measurements on own-rooted and grafted trees. The analysis confirmed a previously reported QTL that imparts vigor control [Dw1, log of odds (LOD) = 7.2] on linkage group (LG) 5 and a new QTL named Dw2 (LOD = 6.4) on LG11 that has a similar effect on vigor. The data from this population were used to study the interaction of these two loci. To validate these findings, a new genetic map comprised of 1841 single-nucleotide polymorphisms was constructed from a cross of the dwarfing, precocious rootstocks ‘Geneva 935’ (G.935) and ‘Budagovsky 9’ (B.9), resulting in the confirmation and modeling of the effect of Dw1 and Dw2 on vigor control of apple scions. Flower density and fruit yield data allowed the identification of genetic factors Eb1 (LOD = 7.1) and Eb2 (LOD = 7.6) that cause early bearing of scions, roughly colocated with the dwarfing factors. The major QTL for mean number of fruit produced per tree colocated with Dw2 (LOD = 7.0) and a minor QTL was located on LG16 (LOD = 3.5). These findings will aid the development of a marker-assisted breeding strategy, and the discovery of additional sources for dwarfing and predictive modeling of new apple rootstocks in the Geneva® apple rootstock breeding program.

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Hua Gao, Zheng-yang Zhao, Yu-miao Lu, Yi-zhen Wan, Lei-cun Wang, Jing-jun Yuan and Peter M. Hirst

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Yan Li, Peter M. Hirst, Yizhen Wan, Yingjiao Liu, Qian Zhou, Hua Gao, Yunzhong Guo, Zhengyang Zhao, Leicun Wang and Mingyu Han

A comparison of field tolerance of 25 apple (Malus ×domestica) cultivars and 39 apple rootstocks to the pathogens Marssonina coronaria and Alternaria alternata apple pathotype was performed. Although most apple cultivars grown in China were susceptible or highly susceptible to both pathogens causing two diseases, considerable variation in the level of resistance to both pathogens was observed. Only three cultivars, Qinguan, Jiguan, and Xiangyanghong, exhibited resistance to both pathogens. Among the rootstocks tested, 30 of 39 (77%) were susceptible or highly susceptible to M. coronaria and 32 (82%) were susceptible to the A. alternata apple pathotype. Four rootstocks, ‘P.22’, ‘SH12’, ‘Za’ai 76’, and ‘Qingdao598’, were resistant to both pathogens. The correlation between resistance to both pathogens was highly significant in the 74 apple cultivars and rootstocks tested suggesting common genetic resistance factors to these two pathogens. Data represented horizontal resistance in the germplasm. The resistant local germplasm should be used in disease resistance breeding programs.