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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: What Can Molecular Genetics Do for Ornamental Plant Research?


Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 1, 2003
Publication Date: October 1, 2003
Citation: Rinehart, T.A. 2003. What can molecular genetics do for ornamental plant research?. Proceedings of the 31st Annual Horticulutral Field Day, MSU, Vol 31, pp15. Meeting Abstract.

Technical Abstract: Traditional breeding relies heavily on selecting for visible traits. Sometimes these traits take years to develop, such as flower color in dogwoods. Molecular techniques can accelerate breeding programs by identifying “genetic markers” for the trait. Then, very young plants can be screened for the genetic marker. Plants that contain markers for desirable genes are used to produce novel varieties for release, propagation, and sale. Molecular techniques can also be used to assess the relatedness between species and cultivars. Why is the “size of the genetic pool” important to breeding? The chances of producing a unique plant from highly-related individuals is low. Breeding distantly-related plants increases the likelihood of bringing in new traits. Molecular markers can also be used to verify the parentage of hybrids.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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