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Douglas V. Shaw and Kirk D. Larson

The genetic opportunity for selection of early fruiting strawberry cultivars was evaluated using seedling populations from the Univ. of California (UC) breeding program in three years. Narrow-sense heritabilities for early season yield and for the proportion of an individual's total yield expressed early were moderate (h2 = 0.24-0.53) and broad-sense heritabilities were slightly larger (H2 = 0.31-0.70), suggesting the presence of some nonadditive genetic variance for these traits. These two traits were genetically correlated with each other (rg = 0.78-0.98), but only early yield was consistently genetically correlated with seasonal yield (rg = 0.52-0.82). Selection was performed for each trait using an index on full-sib family means and individual phenotypic values in two of the three years, and predicted response was compared with that obtained using vegetatively propagated runner plants from selected genotypes in the subsequent fruiting season. Statistically significant (P < 0.05) selection response was obtained in one of two years for each trait, and combined analysis demonstrated highly significant (P < 0.01) response for both traits. However, realized response over all traits and years was just 27.3% of that predicted based on the estimated heritabilities and applied selection intensities. These results suggest that selection for early yield should be based at least in part on runner plant evaluations rather than exclusively on seedling performance.

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Peter M. Hanson, Jen-tzu Chen and George Kuo

High-temperature fruit set (heat tolerance) is a critical trait of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) cultivars targeted for lowland wet season production in the tropics and subtropics. Heat-tolerant Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (AVRDC) tomato line CL5915-93D4-1-0-3 (CL5915) is a valuable source of heat-tolerance genes for tomato genetic improvement. The gene action of heat tolerance in CL5915 was determined by evaluating the F1, F2, BCP1, and BCP2 of a cross between CL5915 and heat-sensitive line UC204A for fruit set traits in two wet-season trials at AVRDC. Parent-offspring regression of F2-derived F3 (F2:3) family means on the F2 plants from CL5915 × UC204A was used to estimate the heritability of F2 single plant selection for heat tolerance. Mean percentage of fruit set and fruit number per cluster of the F1 and BCP1 exceeded midparent values and were not significantly different from those of CL5915, indicating complete dominance for heat tolerance. Generation means analyses indicated that a model including simple additive and dominance effects adequately explained the inheritance of mean fruit number per cluster both years. For mean percentage of fruit set, a model including simple additive-dominance effects produced an adequately fitting model in the 1996 season but the best-fitting model included an epistatic component in the 1997 season. Heritabilities estimated for fruit set traits in 1996 and 1997, respectively, were: 0.31 and 0.21 for percentage of fruit set; 0.28 and 0.14 for mean fruit number per cluster; and 0.53 and 0.15 for flower number per cluster. The low heritabilities for percentage of fruit set and mean fruit number per cluster under high temperatures imply that single plant selection in the F2 for heat tolerance from crosses involving CL5915 is not effective and that selection should be based on replicated family testing in the F3 and later generations.

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R. Bruce Carle and J. Brent Loy

Genetic experiments were initiated to assess the potential for combining large seed size from PI 285611, a large-fruited, hullless seeded accession, with small fruit size from a hullless seeded breeding line (NH29-13-5-4). An F2 population and parental line were field-grown during Summer 1993 to determine inheritance and heritability of large seed size and the relation between fruit and seed size. Seed size variables of weight, width, length, and thickness were regressed against fruit weight. There was a moderate, positive correlation between large fruit and seed length (R2 = 0.46). However, seed thickness, a major determinant of seed weight, was not correlated with fruit size. In an F2 population of ≈450 plants, there was a small number of plant selections with fruit under 1.5 kg and seed size approaching that of PI 285611.

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Ann Marie Connor, James J. Luby and Cindy B.S. Tong

Narrow-sense heritability and among-family and within-family variance components were estimated for antioxidant activity (AA), total phenolic content (TPH), and anthocyanin content (ACY) in blueberry (Vaccinium L. sp.) fruit. AA, TPH, and ACY were determined in the parents and in 10 offspring from each of 20 random crosses for each of 2 years at Becker, Minn. Offspring-midparent regression analysis provided combined-year heritability estimates of 0.43 ± 0.09 (P ≤ 0.0001) for AA, 0.46 ± 0.11 (P ≤ 0.0001) for TPH, and 0.56 ± 0.10 (P ≤ 0.0001) for ACY. Analyses of variance delineated variation among and within families for AA, TPH, and ACY (P ≤ 0.001). Year-to-year variation in the means for all offspring genotypes was not significant for AA or TPH, but there were changes in rank between years for families and for offspring within families for these traits. Year-to-year variation in the mean for all offspring genotypes was significant for ACY, but rank changes were observed only among offspring within families, not among families. In total, 18 of 200 offspring from 7 of the 20 crosses were transgressive segregants for AA, exceeding the higher parent of the cross by at least two sds. Estimates of variance components showed that variation among families accounted for 24% to 27% of total variance for the three traits. However, variation within families was greater than that among families, accounting for 38% to 56% of total variance for the three traits. These results suggest that increasing antioxidant activity in blueberry through breeding is feasible, and that the breeding strategies utilized should exploit the large within-family variation that exists.

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Glenn M. Ito and James L. Brewbaker

Pericarp thickness in maize (Zea mays L.) was analyzed by generation mean analysis for backcross and F2 populations from eight hybrids, derived from two thin-pericarped sweet corn inbreds—AA8 and 677a (55 and 51 μm)—crossed with four field corn inbreds—B37, B68, H55, and Hi26 (range 82-132 μm). Average heterosis was −12.5% and segregating progeny distributions were skewed toward those of thin-pericarped parents. Narrow-sense heritability was high, averaging 55.2%, and the number of effective factors was low, ranging from 1.4 to 5.9 and averaging 3.3. Epistatic effects were as large as additive or dominance effects in many crosses, urging caution in applying models that exclude gene interactions to determine variance components and heritabilities. The mode of action in reducing pericarp thickness appeared to differ among the two thin parents, with AA8 affecting the differential thickening of germinal vs. abgerminal walls, and 677a reducing the number of pericarp cell layers. All genetic parameters suggested that genetic progress in backcross conversions to thin pericarp in sweet corn breeding would be rapid irrespective of the pericarp thickness of exotic parents.

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Thomas A. Greene

Height and caliper (age 3 years), and flower count (age 3.5 years) were evaluated for 36 open-pollinated families of Magnolia grandiflora L. outplanted in two genetic tests in Bexar County, Texas. Significant family differences existed for height, caliper, number of flowers per tree, and percent of trees flowering in both tests. Family heritability estimates for all traits ranged from 0.72 to 0.92. Coefficients of genetic prediction (CGP) between growth and flowering characteristics were small but positive; CGP between height and percent of trees flowering was 0.28 and 0.24 in the two tests. Early growth rate and flowering appeared to be under strong genetic control; thus, improvement through selection would be efficient. However, both traits should be evaluated since the genetic relationship between them was weak.

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R.L. Bell and Jules Janick

Narrow-sense heritability estimates were computed for five fruit quality characteristics and their weighted total index. Grit content and skin russeting were moderately heritable traits, while flesh texture, flavor, appearance, and the weighted total score were of relatively low heritability. Within sub-populations of crosses, defined by the species ancestry of the parents, the relative magnitudes of heritabilities for each trait varied, but were in general agreement with those for the entire population. The general combining ability variances were 4.5 to 12.0 times those for specific combining ability, although both were statistically significant for all traits and the weighted quality index. The species ancestry of a parent had no effect on its general combining ability rank. While selection of individual seedlings on the basis of their own phenotype will result in genetic improvement for grit and russet, selection based on a combination of full-sib family means and individual phenotypes is recommended for flavor, texture, appearance, and overall fruit quality.

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James J. Luby, Peter A. Alspach, Vincent G.M. Bus and Nnadozie C. Oraguzie

Incidence and severity of fire blight [Erwinia amylovora (Burr.) Winslow, Broadhurst, Buchanan, Krumwiede, Rogers, and Smith] following field infection were recorded using families resulting primarily from open-pollination of Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var.domestica (Borkh.) Mansf. cultivars and a few other Malus Mill. sp. The families were structured as three sublines, planted in three successive years (1992 to 1994), of a diverse population of apple germplasm established at HortResearch, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. The incidence of fire blight varied among the sublines with the oldest planting exhibiting more fire blight. Flowering trees were more likely to be infected than nonflowering trees, in terms of both incidence and severity. Furthermore, the level of fire blight was related to flowering date, with later flowering trees having higher levels. Thus, family means and narrow-sense heritability estimates were computed after first adjusting the fire blight score for flowering date by fitting a linear model. Provenance of origin of the maternal parent explained little variation except that M. sieversii Lebed. families were more resistant than M. sylvestris var. domestica families in one subline. Family means computed using all trees, and those from only flowering trees were highly correlated. Families from open-pollination of M. honanensis Rehder and M. xhartwiggii Koehne females were among the more susceptible. Those from several European M. sylvestris var. domestica cultivars as well as from M. baccata (L.) Borkh. and M. toringoides (Rehder) Hughes females were among the more resistant families. Narrow-sense heritability estimates ranged from 0.05 to 0.85 depending on the subline, with most estimates between 0.12 and 0.36. They were higher in the two older sublines that consisted primarily of open-pollinated families from M. sylvestris var. domestica, and lower in the younger subline that consisted primarily of M. sieversii, due to lower incidence and severity in the latter subline. Breeders who consider potential complications of juvenility, tree size, and flowering date in relation to infection periods should be able to exploit field epidemics to perform effective selection.

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J.M. Quintana, H.C. Harrison, J. Nienhuis, J.P. Palta, K. Kmiecik and E. Miglioranza

To understand the genetics that control pod Ca concentration in snap beans, two snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) populations consisting of 60 genotypes, plus 4 commercial cultivars used as checks, were evaluated during Summers 1995 and 1996 at Hancock, Wis. These populations were CA2 (`Evergreen' × `Top Crop') and CA3 (`Evergreen' × `Slimgreen'). The experimental design was an 8×8 double lattice repeated each year. No Ca was added to the plants grown in a sandy loam soil with 1% organic matter and an average of 540 ppm Ca. To ensure proper comparison for pod Ca concentration among cultivars, only commercial sieve size no. 4 pods (a premium grade, 8.3 to 9.5 mm in diameter) were sampled and used for Ca extractions. After Ca was extracted, readings for Ca concentration were done via atomic absorption spectrophotometry. In both populations, genotypes and years differed for pod Ca concentration (P = 0.001). Several snap bean genotypes showed pod Ca concentrations higher than the best of the checks. Overall mean pod Ca concentration ranged from a low of 3.82 to a high of 6.80 mg·g-1 dry weight. No differences were detected between the populations. Significant year×genotype interaction was observed in CA2 (P = 0.1), but was not present in CA3. Population variances proved to be homogeneous. Heritability for pod Ca concentration ranged from 0.48 (CA2) to 0.50 (CA3). Evidently enhancement of pod Ca concentration in beans can successfully be accomplished through plant breeding.

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William J. Martin and Dennis P. Stimart

Stomatal density during plant development and inheritance of the trait were investigated with the goal of utilizing stomatal density as a correlated trait to cutflower postharvest longevity in Antirrhinum majus L. Inbred P1 (stomatal index = 0.2) was hybridized to inbred P2 (stomatal index = 0.3) to produce F1 (P1 × P2), which was backcrossed to each parent producing BCP1 (F1 × P1) and BCP2 (F1 × P2). P1, P2, F1, BCP1, and BCP2 were used to examine changes in stomatal density with plant development and early generation inheritance. An F2 (F1 self-pollinated), and F3, F4, and F5 families, derived by self-pollination and single seed descent, were used to obtain information on advanced generation inheritance. Stomatal density was stable over time and with development of leaves at individual nodes after seedlings reached two weeks of age. Therefore, stomatal density can be evaluated after two weeks of plant development from a leaf at any node. Stomatal density is quantitatively inherited with narrow sense heritabilities of h2 F2:F3 = 0.47 to 0.49, h2 F3:F4 = 0.37 ± 0.06 to 0.60 ± 0.07, and h2 F4:F5 = 0.47 ± 0.07 to 0.50 ± 0.07.