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  • Author or Editor: Yong Tan x
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Six Trinitario females of cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) were crossed with nine Amazonian males in a factorial crossing design. The 54 hybrid progenies were used to estimate genetic variability due to general combining ability (GCA) and specific combining ability (SCA) for yield, pod production, pod weight, husk content, number of beans per pod, average bean weight, and pod value. The results demonstrated that GCA differed significantly for all characteristics from all three sources (Le., female + male, female, and male). SCA (female × male) was also significantly different for all characteristics. The ratio of GCA to SCA ranged from 7.1 for number of beans per pod to 25.7 for pod weight. This result suggested that a major portion of the genetic variability was additive in nature for these characteristics. Among the six Trinitarios, KA2-106 was the best female parent; it contributed high yield and all the desirable pod and bean characteristics into the hybrid progenies. Trinitario KA2-101 combined high pod production and yield, but tended to transmit below-average pod and bean characteristics to its progenies. Amazonians KEE6 and KEE12 were the two highest-yielding male parents, but had below-average bean number per pod and average bean weight. KEE42 and KEE43 combined high yield and transmitted good pod and bean characteristics to their progenies. Based on the GCA effects and the mean performance of the hybrid progenies, a multi-line cultivar consisting of 20 high-yielding crosses with good pod and bean characteristics is being produced in seed gardens for commercial planting.

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‘Zaohong’ navel orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck + C. unshiu Marc.], a new strain of citrus from a graft chimera, was discovered in China. It was diploid and arose at the junction where a ‘Robertson’ navel orange scion was top-worked onto a Satsuma mandarin (C. unshiu). Some characteristics determined by the L1 cell layer, such as juice sacs of fruit and stoma length, were similar to those of Satsuma mandarin, while others, including leaf index, fruit shape, navel, and color and aroma of the rind, were determined by the L2 cell layer, were similar to ‘Robertson’ navel orange. High-performance liquid chromatography analysis of the carotenoid extracts of the flesh of ‘Zaohong’ navel orange indicated that it had the carotenoids profile of Satsuma mandarin with β-cryptoxanthin as the predominant component in the juice sacs in mature fruit. Simple sequence repeats (SSR) and chloroplast simple sequence repeats (cpSSR) analysis showed that both nuclear and chloroplast genomes of ‘Zaohong’ navel orange were composed of both donor plants. On the basis of these facts, ‘Zaohong’ navel orange was found to be a periclinal chimera consisting of L1 derived from Satsuma mandarin and L2/L3 from ‘Robertson’ navel orange. It combined the valuable traits of both donor plants, matured ≈1 month earlier than the present navel orange cultivars, and therefore had good potential in citrus fresh market.

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Cytosine methylation plays important roles in regulating gene expression and modulating agronomic traits. In this study, the fluorescence-labeled methylation-sensitive amplified polymorphism (F-MSAP) technique was used to study variation in cytosine methylation among seven pecan (Carya illinoinensis) cultivars at four developmental stages. In addition, phenotypic variations in the leaves of these seven cultivars were investigated. Using eight primer sets, 22,796 bands and 950 sites were detected in the pecan cultivars at four stages. Variation in cytosine methylation was observed among the pecan cultivars, with total methylation levels ranging from 51.18% to 56.58% and polymorphism rates of 82.29%, 81.73%, 78.64%, and 79.09% being recorded at the four stages. Sufficiently accompanying the polymorphism data, significant differences in phenotypic traits were also observed among the pecan cultivars, suggesting that cytosine methylation may be an important factor underlying phenotypic variation. Hypermethylation was the dominant type of methylation among the four types observed, and full methylation occurred at higher levels than did hemimethylation in the pecan genomes. Cluster analysis and principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) identified Dice coefficients ranging from 0.698 to 0.778, with an average coefficient of 0.735, and the variance contribution rates of the previous three principal coordinates were 19.6%, 19.0%, and 18.2%, respectively. Among the seven pecan cultivars, four groups were clearly classified based on a Dice coefficient of 0.75 and the previous three principal coordinates. Tracing dynamic changes in methylation status across stages revealed that methylation patterns changed at a larger proportion of CCGG sites from the 30% of final fruit-size (30%-FFS) stage to the 70%-FFS stage, with general decreases in the total methylation level, the rate of polymorphism, and specific sites being observed in each cultivar. These results demonstrated that the F-MSAP technique is a powerful tool for quantitatively detecting cytosine methylation in pecan genomes and provide a new perspective for studying many important life processes in pecan.

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Scion wood of ‘Caddo’ and ‘Desirable’ pecan (Carya illinoinensis) was grafted onto the epicotyl of 1-month-old, open-pollinated ‘Shaoxing’ pecan seedlings for evaluation as a grafting technique to reduce the time to produce grafted trees. The results showed that seedlings grafted with “base scions” had higher survival than those grafted with “terminal scions” for both ‘Caddo’ and ‘Desirable’. Also, grafting with paraffinic tape could achieve greater success rate than that with medical tape. The most ideal time to perform this grafting was late April in Nanjing, China, when pecan seedlings were about 35 days old. This study demonstrated that the technique yielded successful epicotyl grafting of >70%, and it could thus be applied in practice.

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