Submitted to: International Symposium on the Edible Alliaceae
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 30, 2001
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: For over 50 years, elite populations or hybrids of bulb onion, bunching onion, chive, and leek have been under development in both the private and public sectors. Sexual reproduction and production of true seed in garlic make possible the genetic improvement and hybrid development of this important Allium. Cytoplasmic-genic male sterility (CMS) is the preferred system of male sterility to produce hybrid bulb onion, bunching onion, and chive. New sources of CMS in bulb and bunching onion, conditioned by the alien cytoplasm of A. galanthum, have been reported. CMS systems to produce hybrid leek are under development. Genetic mapping of major economically important traits has revealed their genetic bases. The direct association of these economically important phenotypes with specific genes has become a reality through the identification of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) and candidate gene approaches. Successful transformation of onion and garlic has opened the door for the introduction of specific traits and the production of value-added cultivars. In spite of these recent advances, the longer generation times of biennial crops, such as onion and leek, still make their genetic improvement a slow, laborious process requiring long-term commitments of time and resources and significantly restrict the abilities of plant breeders to quickly respond to changes in consumer preferences, market demands, losses of pesticides for disease control, etc.