Heritability estimates for octyl acetate and octyl butyrate in the mature fruit of the wild parsnip

M. J. Carroll, A. R. Zangerl, M. R. Berenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aliphatic esters octyl acetate and octyl butyrate occur as major components oil essential oils in the vittae, or oil tubes, of the wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa). We determined phenotypic variation and narrow- sense heritabilities of these octyl esters in wild parsnip fruits from 30 maternal families. The mean octyl acetate content was 1.56 μg/mg dry fruit (0.08-5.51 μg/mg dry fruit) and the mean octyl butyrate content was 4.28 μg/mg dry fruit (1.2B-14.22 μg/l mg dry fruit). Narrow-sense heritabilities for each ester's content were, calculated by analysis of half-sib families (HS) and parent-offspring regression (OP). Heritabilities were 0.389 (HS) and 0.654 (OP) for octyl acetate and 0.670 (HS) and 0.626 (OP) for octyl butyrate. The amounts of the esters were phenotypically correlated with each other and with the linear furanocoumarins bergapten and xanthotoxin, phetotoxic compounds that co-occur in the vittae with the esters. Ester amounts were not genetically correlated, indicating that: these compounds could respond independently to selection pressures. These octyl esters may serve as carrier solvents that enhance penetration of these furanocoumarins into herbivore integuments and gut walls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-71
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Heredity
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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