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Shell eggs have been irradiated with increasing radiation doses in the 0.5-3.0 kGy dose range and various non-microbiological changes, important from the point of view of consumer quality, have been estimated. Dose-dependent changes in the flow behaviour of egg white and brittleness of the yolk membrane in broken eggs, sensorial parameters of the raw and soft-boiled eggs, whippability and foam stability of the egg white were observed. Considering that a minimal dose of 1.5 kGy would be required for radiation inactivation of salmonellae and other, non-pathogenic bacteria, the quality of irradiated eggs upon such gamma radiation dose would not be equal in all parameters to those of the fresh shell eggs, however, changes in sensorial and functional properties at this dose level may be still acceptable, mainly for risk population and some industrial use.

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An efficient regeneration system is described based on the use of several genotypes and combining different cytokinins in the regeneration process. Optimal regeneration efficiency can be obtained if the factors affecting regeneration are examined with special attention to the maintenance of the stock plants, the composition of the medium, and the pre-treatment. The maintenance of stock plants proved to be optimal if the plants were kept on modified LS medium supplemented with 0.125 mg L −1 6-benzylaminopurine (BAP) and 0.01 mg L −1 indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) in large vessels. Pre-treatment was found to increase the regeneration efficiency. Placing the leaves on to medium containing 1.5 mg L −1 BAP-riboside and 0.1 mg L −1 thidiazuron (TDZ) without wounding, and keeping them in the dark for 6 days gave the best results. The highest regeneration rate was observed on medium containing MS salts with B5 vitamins complemented with 20 g L −1 glucose, 3 mg L −1 BAP-riboside, 0.2 mg L −1 TDZ and 0.2 mg L −1 IBA. This system made it possible to achieve regeneration in each of the varieties examined, though to different extents.

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The possibilities latent in molecular marker-based QTL analyses are presented through the example of studying winter survival and heading date in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). The whole range of QTL experiments consists of several important steps, through which answers are found to the following questions: (1) How many QTLs are involved and where do they map, (2) How does the environment influence the effect of a QTL region (environment × QTL interactions), (3) When and where are the genes determining the given trait expressed (QTL dynamics), (4) What interactions occur between these QTLs and pathways leading to specific phenotypes, and (5) How consistent is the effect of a QTL region in different genetic backgrounds and in a wider range of germplasms (comparative mapping and association studies)? This knowledge then makes it possible to continue these experiments in the direction of marker-assisted selection and/or gene isolation through marker saturation of the relevant chromosomal regions and map-based cloning. The latter can give an insight into the exact mechanism through which the gene determines the phenotype.

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The effect of vernalization response and photoperiod sensitivity on reproductive fitness and agronomic traits was examined in a group of 16 H. spontaneum accessions and 8 H. vulgare cultivars in controlled environments. The whole range of plant developmental and agronomic traits was determined by vernalization. The reproductive fitness was severely impaired when the vernalization requirements of the plants were not saturated. Variation in the magnitude of vernalization response significantly correlated with several traits. A larger decrease in reproductive tiller number, average seed number and consequently final grain yield was more characteristic of accessions with a greater vernalization response. When the vernalization requirement was met, long photoperiod enhanced the fitness of the plants and resulted in larger yield and yield components, irrespective of the genotype, while short photoperiod acted as a limiting factor for all these traits. There was, however, a difference in the reaction type of wild and cultivated genotypes due to their different plant strategies.

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The early growth and tillering capacity of two barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) varieties (Dicktoo and Kompolti Korai) were investigated in a gradient growth chamber. The identification of these crop traits is important under organic agricultural conditions in the selection of new varieties for competitiveness against weeds. The results clearly demonstrate that the initial development of the two barley varieties depended considerably on the plant growth conditions. The temperature gradient was found to have the greater effect during early development, causing significant differences in all the traits at all measurement dates. The results indicate that the two varieties differ substantially for two characteristics important for organic farming. As regards tillering ability, Dicktoo appears to be the more desirable type, despite the fact that it is unable to achieve its tillering potential at higher temperatures. Under certain ecological conditions, the relative temperature insensitivity of Kompolti Korai could be an advantage. As far as early development vigour is concerned, Kompolti Korai is clearly a desirable type for organic farming, since it produced rapidly growing, robust plants in all the temperature ranges. From the point of view of organic breeding, a combination of the valuable traits of these two varieties could be the way forward.

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Tillering ability is a complex trait, the development of which is influenced by both environmental factors and complex genetic regulation. In the present experiments this complex regulation was dissected into its various components in an effort to separate the effect on tillering of major genes influencing ontogeny from that of other genomic factors. The tillering rate of a facultative × winter barley mapping population was examined in the field after autumn and spring sowing. The vernalisation sensitivity gene Vrn-H2 exerted a considerable influence on tillering in spring-sown barley. In addition to the major genes, QTL analysis revealed two chromosome regions (1HS and 3HL) with a significant influence on the extent of tillering. Neither of these regions were involved in the regulation of heading date, and their effect on tillering was the most intense at the beginning of ontogeny, gradually declining as the influence of the Vrn-H2 gene increased. The function of the Vrn-H2 locus in the regulation of tillering is manifested partly through a direct effect on the transition from the vegetative to the generative phase and partly indirectly via epistatic regulation of other chromosome regions influencing tillering.

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The effect of explant type (immature vs. mature embryos) and two auxin types (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid vs. Dicamba) on the callogenesis and plant regeneration ability of 26 wheat cultivars was studied. In general, the callus induction, plant regeneration and shoot formation frequencies were higher in mature embryo-derived cultures as compared to immature ones on media originally developed for mature wheat embryo cultures. In both culture types, the auxin Dicamba was found to be more efficient, especially when mature embryos were cultured. The separation of means using Duncan’s multiple range test revealed the best in vitro response, in terms of the frequency of callus regeneration, in the cultivar Astella for both immature and mature embryo cultures. This cultivar gave very promising results, suggesting that it could be used in the future for further tissue culture investigations and as a donor material for genetic transformation experiments in wheat. Correlation analyses revealed significant similarities between the evaluated parameters within each group (immature and mature embryo-derived cultures). However, there were no significant correlations between these two groups for most of the parameters. This suggests that the mechanism of plant regeneration in the two in vitro regeneration systems (mature vs. immature embryo culture) may be different enough to hamper the development of an optimal plant regeneration protocol for use in both systems.

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In order to evaluate the effect of light intensity and photoperiod on heading and to establish the reaction types of barley, a set of barley germplasm of various geographical origin and growth habit was examined in a series of controlled growth chamber experiments combining two levels of light intensity with long and short photoperiod regimes. Low light intensity contributed only a limited portion to the total variance of heading and this originated to a large extent from the genotype × light intensity interaction for both photoperiods. Under the long photoperiod regime the effect of low light intensity was only apparent in a significant delay in heading. Under a short photoperiod the type of sensitivity depended on the growth habit. Low light intensity hastened plant development in 15% of the spring barley varieties, while the flowering of 44% of the winter barley varieties was significantly delayed. Establishing the reaction types for photoperiod and low light intensity in this range of barley germplasm made it possible to identify the typical reaction types of the two growth-habit groups. In addition, it also became possible to identify genotypes with contrasting or unusual combinations of these traits.

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A barley mapping population consisting of 96 doubled haploid lines of anther culture origin was developed from the varieties Dicktoo and Kompolti Korai, which represent diverse types with respect to geographical origin and ecological adaptation. Several molecular marker techniques were used in mapping: among the markers with known chromosome location, RFLP, STS and SSR markers were applied to identify linkage groups and for comparative mapping, while RAPD and AFLP markers, which have random binding but provide useful information on polymorphism, were employed to fill in the linkage groups with markers. A total of 496 markers were tested in the DH population, 246 of which were included in the linkage map after eliminating markers that were completely linked with each other. The ratio of markers with known chromosome location to random markers in the 1107 cM map was one to three, and the mean recombination distance between the markers was 4.5 cM. Application of various marker methods and the effect of the population structure on the development of marker linkage maps are discussed.

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Cereal Research Communications
Authors:
J. Bányai
,
P. Szűcs
,
I. Karsai
,
K. Mészáros
,
Cs. Kuti
,
L. Láng
, and
Z. Bedő

A total of 96 winter wheat ( Triticum aestivum L.) cultivars registered in Hungary were analysed using 15 wheat microsatellite markers located on different chromosome arms. Analyses revealed 91 SSR alleles with sizes ranging from 123–239 base pairs. The total number of alleles per locus ranged from 2 (Gwm664 and Gwm415) to 11 (Gwm219) with an average number of 6.1. The polymorphic information content (PIC) values ranged from 0.06 to 0.85 with an average number of 0.60 for all markers. Several markers included allele sizes characteristic of a single or a small number of cultivars. At most 9 SSR markers were required to distinguish the 96 cultivars, so the simple sequence repeats could serve as a relatively cheap, rapid method for identifying winter wheat cultivars.

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