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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Blueberry Research



Research Interests:

cluster of Chanticleer blueberries

  • Identifying and incorporating resistance to two fungal diseases of blueberry: mummy berry (Monilinia vacinii-corymbosi) and anthracnose fruit-rot (Colletotrichum acutatum).
  • Developing screening procedures to allow for early evaluation of resistance, mechanisms of resistance, and studies of inheritance in blueberry.
  • The breeding program has ongoing studies of germplasm introgression, utilizing V. ashei, V. constablaei, and V. darrowi, and studies of fruit quality characteristics focused on organic acid composition and firmness.
  • The USDA blueberry breeding program cooperates with programs in seven states and distributes materials of both highbush and rabbiteye blueberries. The program supports continued evaluation and variety release with state cooperators.
  • Constructing a genetic linkage map of blueberry using molecular markers.
  • Understanding genetic control of chilling requirement and cold hardiness in blueberry.
  • Identifying DNA markers linked to genes controlling chilling requirement, cold hardiness, and other traits of horticultural significance.
  • DNA fingerprinting of blueberry cultivars.
  • Isolating cold responsive genes from blueberry.
  • Developing EST markers for blueberry.

Research Goals

  • Isolating and characterizing genes encoding the three dehydrin-like proteins and other cold-responsive proteins from blueberry.
  • Testing hypotheses that these proteins play a causal role in determining chilling requirement or level of cold hardiness.
  • Developing and utilizing tissue culture and gene transfer techniques for the improvement of blueberry.
  • Improving transformation and shoot regeneration frequencies in blueberry.

The scientists who work with Blueberries are:

  • Dr. Mark Ehlenfeldt
  • Dr. Jeannine Rowland 
  • Dr. James Polashock


Last Modified: 8/12/2016
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