Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/10/2010
Publication Date: 7/25/2010
Citation: Beers, L., Drummond, F.A., Rowland, L.J. 2010. Preliminary analysis of genetic diversity in lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Ait.) across its native range. Meeting Abstract. 2010:p.55. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Ait.) is unique in its cultivation. Wild plants colonize open areas, either natural or man-made. Without planted varieties it is left to chance and selection what genotypes will populate a field. Population screening of clones in blueberry fields and surrounding, non-cultivated, wild plants would provide an indication of genetic diversity present in lowbush blueberry. Identification of clones more resistant to abiotic and biotic stresses could form a base for germplasm improvement ultimately providing new varieties. Previous work has shown blueberry fields to be more genetically similar the closer they are in proximity to each other. Significant diversity of blueberry fields can be found in close proximity between fields (12km). We are proposing a research study to assess genetic diversity in lowbush blueberry across its native range. Sampling lowbush blueberry populations over a north-south transect across its geographic range will be initiated in spring 2010. Population samples collected at different sites will be compared using EST-PCR markers developed for highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum) species, but have also proven useful in lowbush studies. We will report on the initial findings at this meeting. Clones from multiple populations across North America will also be brought back to the University of Maine’s Blueberry Hill Farm for "common garden" experiments on cold hardiness. Studying genetic diversity of lowbush blueberry fields could identify more stress resistant populations or show variation in regards to yield.