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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGEMENT OF TEMPERATE FRUIT NUT AND SPECIALTY CROP GENETIC RESOURCES Title: From villous strawberry shams to hairy huckleberries: the wild side of berry exploration

Author
item Hummer, Kim

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 30, 2011
Publication Date: November 11, 2011
Citation: Hummer, K.E. 2011. From villous strawberry shams to hairy huckleberries: the wild side of berry exploration. HortScience. 46(11):1440-1443.

Interpretive Summary: The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service, National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Corvallis was established as the US berry genebank in 1981. Since then the USDA has sponsored numerous exploration missions throughout the United States and in foreign countries to obtain berry plant genetic resources. Species of strawberries, currants and gooseberries, raspberries and blackberries and blueberries and cranberries originate from both domestic and international localities. With limited gene pools for cultivated strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries expeditions have provided a wealth of genetic resources that expand the opportunities for breeders to develop new cultivars. With the diverse species inherent in the development of the cultivated blueberry, these trips have discovered unusual blueberry relatives and forms available for expanding the production range, increasing plant yields, and improving antioxidant content of the berries. Along the way, new fruit species and new uses for known species were observed. Sharing the bounty of the world’s berries include fauna from snakes, bears, and bison, to butterflies, mosquitoes, ticks, and chiggers. Avenging poison ivy relatives add their mark on intrepid explorers. Remote sites with nothing but clear night stars and the satellite markers on the global positioning system offer radiant beauty and an abiding hope for the conservation of plant genetic diversity for all people for all time.

Technical Abstract: The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service, National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Corvallis was established as the US berry genebank in 1981. Since then the USDA has sponsored numerous exploration missions throughout the United States and in foreign countries to obtain berry plant genetic resources. Species of Fragaria (strawberries), Ribes (currants and gooseberries), Rubus (raspberries and blackberries) and Vaccinium (blueberries and cranberries) originate from both domestic and international localities. With limited gene pools for cultivated strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries expeditions have provided a wealth of genetic resources that expand the opportunities for breeders to develop new cultivars. With the diverse species inherent in the development of the cultivated blueberry, these trips have discovered unusual blueberry relatives and forms available for expanding the production range, increasing plant yields, and improving antioxidant content of the berries. Along the way, new fruit species and new uses for known species were observed. Sharing the bounty of the world’s berries include fauna from snakes, bears, and bison, to butterflies, mosquitoes, ticks, and chiggers. Avenging Toxicodendron diversity adds their mark on intrepid explorers. Remote sites with nothing but clear night stars and the satellite markers on the global positioning system (GPS) offer radiant beauty and an abiding hope for the conservation of plant genetic diversity for all people for all time.

Last Modified: 12/24/2014