Recurring off-types in lettuce: Their significance in plant breeding and seed production


The lettuce cv. Valentine regularly produces non-heading off-type plants at the relatively high frequency of 4 × 10−3. They result from mutation to the dominant condition. A similar propensity has been reported twice before in lettuce; it is highly heritable.

The propensity to produce off-types was not present in the parents of Valentine so it must have arisen during the pedigree breeding programme. Closely related cultivars do not carry the character but it was subsequently transmitted to Dandie a new cultivar of which Valentine was one of the parents. Allelism tests to relate Valentine off-types to those in crisphead cultivars were not successful.

The elimination of off-types in breeding programmes is discussed. Contrary to the findings in day-neutral crisphead cultivars, mutant phenotypes in long-day butterhead cultivars have no selective advantage for seed production. Consequently, strict roguing ensures adequate varietal stability.

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Communicated by R. Riley

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Maxon Smith, J.W. Recurring off-types in lettuce: Their significance in plant breeding and seed production. Theoret. Appl. Genetics 50, 79–87 (1977).

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Key words

  • Lettuce
  • Crisphead Cultivars Off-types Instability