Field performance and molecular profiles of Mexican lime selections

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The Mexican lime industry is interested in developing lime cultivars with improved characteristics for fresh and processing markets. The objective of this study was to determine the field performance and genetic molecular differences among four new Mexican lime [Citrus aurantifolia (Christm) Swingle] clonal selections compared to traditional thorny Mexican lime under the dry tropical conditions of Mexico. Tree growth, production, fruit quality, and molecular markers of the traditional thorny Mexican lime (MLT) cultivar were compared to the following lime selections: thornless Mexican lime (MLTS), seedless Mexican lime (MLS), ML 12-8, and ML 20-3. After 10 years of evaluation MLS showed the highest and MLTS the lowest tree growth. Most of the genotypes covered the soil surface area assigned to tree growth since they were 7 years old. Only the less vigorous MLTS required 9 years to cover the same space. MLT was the most productive selection (165 kg/tree/year, mean of 8 years of evaluation). MLS was the less productive (81 kg/tree in the same period of time). MLTS, ML 12-8, and ML 20-3 produced intermediate yields. Acidity and total soluble solids among the selections were very similar. However, MLS had the higher juice content and the lower seed number. The MLS selection is attractive for export market due to these characteristics. AFLP studies confirmed genetic differences among the five lime selections. Nevertheless, all five selections shared many bands as expected.

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