Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 27, 2010
Publication Date: July 25, 2010
Citation: Durchholz, E., Williams, M., Polashock, J.J., Rowland, L.J., Powell, A. 2010. Evolutionary relationships in Vaccinium section Cyanococcus. Meeting Abstract. 2010:p56. Technical Abstract: The North American Vaccinium section Cyanococcus includes the ecologically and economically important blueberry species, Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry), Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry), Vaccinium myrtilloides (velvet-leaf blueberry), and Vaccinium virgatum (rabbiteye blueberry), as well as at least nine other species of blueberry. Species in section Cyanococcus are found from northern Canada, south to Florida and as far west as Illinois and are an ecologically important component of the shrub community in acidic bogs, swamps, and heathlands throughout eastern North America. The evolutionary relationships of the blueberries from section Cyanococcus have been the subject of much debate but have not been adequately assessed using DNA sequence data or molecular markers. This study examines the evolutionary relationships of North American blueberry species from section Cyanococcus using sequences from two DNA regions, the nuclear granule bound starch synthase (waxy) gene and the nuclear internal transcribed spacer (nrITS) region, and using length polymorphisms of expressed sequence tag – polymerase chain reaction (EST-PCR) markers. A comparison of the trees, based on the different approaches, is presented. Results, based on the waxy data, indicate that section Cyanococcus is monophyletic, accessions of V. corymbosum (as currently defined) are not each other’s closest relatives, and there may be two copies of waxy in Vaccinium. A robust and resolved phylogeny of section Cyanococcus will provide critical information about the closest relatives of the economically important blueberry species and will provide a strong foundation for breeding and crop enhancement programs.