Geographic Distribution of Incompatibility Alleles in Cultivars and Selections of European Hazelnut Public Deposited

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  • The european hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.) is native 24 to most of Europe and nearby areas in Asia Minor and the Caucasus Mountains. Cross-pollination is enforced by sporophytic incompatibility under the control of a single locus with multiple alleles (haplotypes). Fluorescence microscopy is routinely used to determine if a pollination is compatible or incompatible, and use of an array of known testers allows identification of the alleles of cultivars and selections. Both alleles are expressed in the stigmas, but often only one is expressed in the pollen because of dominance. Cultivars are highly heterozygous diploids (2n = 2x = 22) and clonally propagated. Most of the world's leading cultivars were selected from local wild populations near where they are now planted on a commercial scale. Genetic improvement efforts are recent and, although tremendous genetic variability is available, such efforts have had little impact outside of Oregon (USA) and France. Studies of genetic diversity using simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers have placed most cultivars in one of the four main groups: Spanish-Italian, Central European, English or Black Sea. This study presents 17 years of data on incompatibility in hazelnut, including the discovery of six new S-alleles and determination of the dominance relationships among 105 new pairs of alleles. The total number of alleles now stands at 33. The S-alleles of 284 cultivars, 13 interspecific hybrids and 522 selections of diverse origin are presented. The S-alleles identified in hazelnut cultivars is information that should be useful to breeders in the planning of crosses, to curators of germplasm collections, and to growers and nurseries as they choose cultivars and pollinizers when designing orchards. Differences in S-allele frequency seen in the cultivars and selections are related to geographic origin. The most common alleles of cultivars in the major geographical groups are S₂ in the Spanish-Italian group, S₅ in the Central European group, S₃ in the English group and S₄ in the Black Sea group. Most selections belonged to the Black Sea group, and S₄ was by far the most common allele. Differences in allele frequency were also observed among seed lots within a country.
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  • Mehlenbacher, S. A. (2014). Geographic Distribution of Incompatibility Alleles in Cultivars and Selections of European Hazelnut. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, 139(2), 191-212.
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