Submitted to: Fruit, Vegetable, and Cereal Science and Biotechnology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 10, 2011
Publication Date: December 31, 2011
Citation: Clark, J.R., Finn, C.E. 2011. Blackberry breeding and genetics. In: Flachowsky, H. and Hanke, V.M., editors. Methods in Temperate Fruit Breeding. Fruit, Vegetable, and Cereal Science and Biotechnology 5 (Special Issue 1). Global Science Books, Ltd. UK. p. 27-43.
Blackberry (Rubus L. subgenus Rubus Watson) improvement has made substantial progress with over 400 cultivars named originating from wild selections to many releases from breeding efforts. Public breeding has been ongoing for over 100 years. The result of these improvements is commercial production for processing and fresh markets in a number of countries. There has been excellent progress made in improving several very important traits. Fruit quality has been and continues to be a high priority in breeding, with selection for improved processing quality along with enhanced postharvest handling potential for fresh market expansion. Fruit size has been advanced and a range of berry sizes from small to very large exist among released cultivars. A number of plant characters have been addressed, with thornlessness becoming more common in recent introductions. Likewise, enhanced yield potential, improved disease resistance, and improved cane management characteristics have been achieved. More recently, primocane fruiting has been incorporated into blackberry, expanding production options. Breeding has been done using classical breeding methodology, crossing complementary parents and selecting improved progeny. Research using molecular methods has been limited in blackberry, and has not contributed substantially to cultivar improvement. Although breeding efforts in blackberry are more limited than the major berry crops, a continuous supply of new cultivars should result from ongoing programs. These, along with previous cultivar developments, will contribute to an ever-increasing number of cultivar options resulting in an increased of production of this increasingly popular berry crop.