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Sogo Nishio, Masahiko Yamada, Yutaka Sawamura, Norio Takada and Toshihiro Saito

The effectiveness of detected quantitative trait loci (QTLs) and molecular markers associated with them in tree fruit breeding is measured by the percentages of the variance associated with detected QTL effects accounting for not phenotypic variance, but genetic variance of the trait. The genetic variance can be obtained by subtracting environmental variance from the phenotypic variance. Once accurate environmental variance components are obtained for a given selection field, environmental variances under any number of replications and measurement repetitions can be estimated. We estimated environmental variance components of fruit ripening date measured by days in a Japanese pear (Pyrus pyrifolia Nakai) breeding field in the National Institute of Fruit Tree Science, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan. We estimated variance among fruits within a tree (σf 2) as 25.6, among trees within a genotype (σt 2) as 0.2, among years (σy 2) as 9.4, associated with genotype × year interaction (σgy 2) as 7.9, and associated with tree × year interaction (σty 2) as 1.2. Because σf 2 was the largest environmental variance component, increasing the number of fruit evaluated would most effectively reduce the environmental variance, and tree replication would not because of very small σt 2 and σty 2. The 95% confidence limit of a genotypic value was ± 10 days in the evaluation of five fruits on a single tree in a year and ± 7 days over 2 years. Broad-sense heritability in a family, each offspring in which was evaluated using five fruits on a single tree in a single year, was estimated at 0.83 for three full-sib families analyzed.

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Sogo Nishio, Masahiko Yamada, Norio Takada, Hidenori Kato, Noriyuki Onoue, Yutaka Sawamura and Toshihiro Saito

We evaluated the nut harvesting date (NHD), nut weight (NW), pericarp splitting (PS), and infestation by insects (II) in eight cultivars/selections of Japanese chestnut, including a Japanese–Chinese hybrid, over 6 years. Data were analyzed by analysis of variance (without transformation for NHD, after log-transformation for NW and PS, and after square root transformation for II). The among-tree variance accounted for only 1.1% to 8.5% of the total variance. The variance component resulting from residual factors for the tree × year interaction and sampling errors was the largest component for NW, PS, and II, accounting for 46% to 54% of the total environmental variance. Because tree replication is costly and time-consuming in chestnut breeding, increasing the number of yearly repetitions is more efficient than increasing the number of tree replicates. Broad-sense heritability was 0.84 for NHD, 0.27 for NW, 0.48 for PS, and 0.17 for II in evaluations with one tree without yearly repetition. It increased to 0.91 for NHD, 0.40 for NW, 0.62 for PS, and 0.29 for II in evaluations with one tree in 2 years. For NHD, the heritabilities are sufficiently high to distinguish genetic differences among cultivars/selection. In contrast, the low heritability of II suggests that this trait should not be evaluated with an emphasis on the initial selection stage but rather with an emphasis on the secondary selection stage based on testing at several locations with a large number of yearly and tree replications.

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Norio Takada, Sogo Nishio, Masahiko Yamada, Yutaka Sawamura, Akihiko Sato, Toshio Hirabayashi and Toshihiro Saito

‘Porotan’ is a Japanese chestnut cultivar (Castanea crenata Sieb. et Zucc.) that was selected from offspring of the cross 550-40 × ‘Tanzawa’ and released in 2006. Its nut is distinguished by a pellicle that is easy to peel after roasting; previously, all Japanese chestnut cultivars were thought to have a pellicle that was difficult to peel. Both 550-40 and ‘Tanzawa’ are Japanese chestnuts, and 550-40 is a selection descended from ‘Tanzawa’. Both 550-40 and ‘Tanzawa’ have a pellicle that is difficult to peel. Among 59 offspring of a cross of 550-40 × ‘Tanzawa’, 12 had an easy-peeling pellicle and 47 had a difficult-peeling pellicle; this ratio is not significantly different from the 1:3 expected ratio for monogenic inheritance based on a chi-square test at P = 0.05. A half-diallel cross without selfings was made among ‘Porotan’, ‘Tanzawa’, and ‘Tsukuba’. All the offspring from ‘Tanzawa’ × ‘Tsukuba’ and from ‘Tsukuba’ × ‘Porotan’ had a difficult-peeling pellicle; in contrast, 39 offspring from ‘Tanzawa’ × ‘Porotan’ segregated in a ratio of 19 difficult-peeling pellicle to 20 easy-peeling pellicle, which is not significantly different from the expected 1:1 ratio for monogenic segregation based on a chi-square test at P = 0.05. These results suggest that the easy-peeling pellicle trait of ‘Porotan’ is controlled by a major recessive gene at a single locus. We designated the pellicle peelability locus as P/p. According to this model, the ‘Tsukuba’ genotype is homozygous-dominant (PP), the ‘Tanzawa’ genotype is heterozygous (Pp), and the ‘Porotan’ genotype is homozygous-recessive (pp).