Submitted to: International Journal of Fruit Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/25/2010
Publication Date: 3/14/2012
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/61490
Citation: Buck, E., C., W., Hurst, R., Mcghie, T., Scalzo, J., Allan, A., Rowland, L.J., Bassil, N.V. 2012. Progress in blueberry research in New Zealand. International Journal of Fruit Science. 12:304-315. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Blueberries were first introduced to New Zealand in the 1950’s from North America and by 1970 around 30 cultivars had been imported. Selection for new material better suited to the New Zealand climate then began using F1 seedlings and open pollinated crosses. The PFR blueberry breeding programme (led by Dr Jessica Scalzo) is currently run at three sites; at Hamilton and Motueka on the North & South Island respectively of New Zealand, and a smaller programme at Dierkings in Germany. PFR’s breeding targets are to improve yield, ripening season and disease resistance, as well as fruit quality traits such as fruit size, firmness, flavour, colour and grittiness. Areas of research include molecular genetics, functional genomics, biochemical composition and health, and in 2008 we joined the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) project to generate genomic tools for blueberry improvement, led by Dr Lisa Rowland. We present a summary of the microsatellite and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) based markers we have developed as part of the SCRI programme, as well as an update on other blueberry research undertaken at PFR. This will include anthocyanin composition studies, research into polyphenolics and skeletal muscle damage, as well as work on our expressed sequence tag (EST) library and candidate genes within the anthocyanin pathway. We will also discuss the impact of this research on the future of blueberry breeding at PFR.