Andrew Ogden, Ph.D. Student

Biological Sciences: Agricultural Sciences - PHD Andrew Ogden

Dr. Brent Loy

Interspecific grafting in Cucurbita spp. to promote flowering and increase understanding of photoperiodic and late season flower

Squash and pumpkins have a number of closely related wild species and landraces which offer novel traits to plant breeders. However, the flowering of these species is poorly understood and many will not flower under New England daylength during summer periods. Additionally, many grow far too large to be manageable by plant breeders. We can force these species to flower by grafting them onto regionally adapted varieties. We seek to determine the optimal method and rootstock variety to force flowering and fruit set on smaller plants growing under New England conditions. This finding would enable plant breeders to examine and incorporate new germplasm on plants that are of a manageable size growing under different daylengths. We also seek to uncover the gene or genes responsible for late flowering and daylength sensitive flowering in squash and pumpkin.