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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Use of Blueberry to Study Genetic Control of Chilling Requirement and Cold Hardiness in Woody Perennials

Authors
item Rowland, Lisa
item Arora, Rajeev - UNIV OF WEST VIRGINIA
item Lehman, Jeffrey - OTTEERBEIN COLLEGE, OHIO
item Levi, Amnon - BETHESDA, MD
item Ogden, Elizabeth
item Panta, Ganesh - UNIV OF GA, ATHENS, GA
item Lim, Chon-Chong - UNIV OF WEST VIRGINIA

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 12, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Both chilling requirement (CR), amount of low temperature exposure required for winter dormant plants to resume growth in the spring, and cold hardiness (CH) level determine whether temperate-zone woody perennial fruit crops will survive the winter and early spring without frost damage to shoots and flower buds. Because of the critical roles these traits play in the life-cycle of woody perennials, we are using a combination of genetic, molecular, and physiological approaches to study their genetic control in blueberry. A genetic approach is being used to map CR and CH. DNA marker-based genetic maps are being constructed using populations suitable for mapping CR and CH. CR and CH data obtained from these populations have been used in inheritance studies to evaluate different models of gene action. Both CR and CH appear to be controlled by relatively few genes with simple effects (additive-dominant). Molecular and physiological approaches are being used to identify and isolate cold-responsive genes from blueberry and determine their relationship to CR or CH. Major cold-responsive proteins known as dehydrins have been found in blueberry flower buds and one member of the dehydrin gene family has been isolated. In addition, dehydrins have been shown to be associated with CH level. Identification of markers/genes associated with CR and CH will help scientists to develop (1) more effective breeding strategies for altering CRs and CH levels and (2) gene transfer strategies for altering CRs and CH levels of existing varieties.

Technical Abstract: Because of the lack of understanding concerning chilling requirement (CR) and cold hardiness (CH) in woody perennials, we are using a combination of genetic, molecular, and physiological approaches to investigate genetic control and regulation of these traits in blueberry. Specifically, genetic and molecular approaches are being used to map genes controlling CR and CH and determine their mode of action. Molecular marker-based maps are being constructed using two diploid testcross populations segregating for CR and CH. To date, 27 markers have been assigned to 8 linkage groups in a V. darrowi testcross and 37 markers have been assigned to 12 linkage groups in a V. caesariense testcross. CR and CH data obtained from the mapping populations have been used in generation means and inheritance studies to evaluate different models of gene action. Both CR and CH appear to be controlled by relatively few genes with simple additive-dominant effects. Concommitantly, molecular and physiological approaches are being used to identify and isolate chilling-responsive genes from blueberry and determine their relationship to CR or CH. Major chilling-responsive proteins found in blueberry flower buds have been identified as dehydrins and one member of the dehydrin gene family has been cloned and sequenced. Using an experimental approach which triggers deacclimation in dormant plants, we have established that dehydrins are associated with CH rather than dormancy status.

Last Modified: 7/30/2014
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