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Emanuel Araya-Valverde, Antonio Bogantes, Andrea Holst, Cristian Vargas-Mora, Luis Gómez-Alpízar, Arturo Brenes, Elodia Sánchez-Barrantes, Max Chavarría and Luis Barboza- Barquero

Abstract: Most commercial papaya varieties segregate hermaphrodite and
female plants. Growers normally select hermaphrodite plants in the field, due
to market preferences. This requires planting multiple plants per site and later
thinning of the females, distinguished by flower bud inspection. Micropropagation
or the use of molecular markers are two possibilities to grow only
hermaphrodite plants. Under the tropical conditions of this study, the field
performance of hermaphrodite papaya plants developed by both of these
methods was described. Moreover, a multiplex qPCR reaction was optimized.
Hermaphrodite seedlings selected by molecular markers and plants obtained
by micropropagation, had a lower slenderness ratio and initiated fruit production
at a lower height than those selected by the conventional practice of the
orchard. An analysis of flower types between the sex determination methods
indicated that growing one hermaphrodite papaya plant per hole reduces the
percentage of female-sterile flowers, resulting in fruit set at a lower trunk height
and higher yields.

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