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Facultative apomixis and chromosome doubling are sources of heterogeneity in citrus rootstock trials : Impact on clementine production and breeding selection

Hussain S., Curk F., Ollitrault P., Morillon R., Luro F.. 2011. Scientia Horticulturae, 130 (4) : p. 815-819.

DOI: 10.1016/j.scienta.2011.09.009

All commercial citrus rootstocks are polyembryonic and propagated by seeds. Although these seeds produce uniform plant material most of the time, zygotic or polyploid citrus seedlings may arise. The aim of this study was to understand how zygotic or tetraploid rootstock could affect a citrus rootstock selection field trial. A trifoliate orange selection field trial, which was planted in 1974 and grafted with clementine, was re-investigated with respect to the presence of rootstocks that were not true-to-type. Among the 288 trees investigated, flow cytometry identified 2.4% of rootstocks as tetraploid and SSR markers indicated that 6.6% were zygotic. Yield data showed that the presence of tetraploid rootstock dramatically decreased (by about 45%) clementine fruit production. However, zygosity did not always affect fruit production and a range of effects were observed, from a slight increase in production to a 24% decrease. Exclusion of non-true-to-type genotypes from the production analysis indicated that the best candidate for rootstock was a clone previously ranked in the middle of the 32 rootstocks under evaluation. However, the presence of zygotic rootstock did not appear to cause any significant differences in fruit quality during the first 5 years of the investigation, which suggests that non-true-to-type plants cannot be identified by fruit quality parameters. This study indicates that tetraploid and zygotic rootstocks have a strong impact on citrus fruit production in orchards, and removal of off-type seedlings is required prior to planting in any agronomic trial.

Mots-clés : porte greffe; poncirus trifoliata; citrus reticulata; citrus sinensis; hybride; tétraploïdie; polyembryonie; clémentine; fruit; qualité; corse; france

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