Submitted to: Journal of American Pomological Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/7/2020
Publication Date: 1/4/2021
Citation: Ehlenfeldt, M.K. 2021. Production of dwarfs in rabbiteye blueberry (V. virgatum Aiton) crosses. Journal of American Pomological Society. 75:31-37.
Interpretive Summary: Dwarf or semi-dwarf plant types have the potential to be of significant value if they can modify morphology in specific ways without sacrificing productivity. The most notable such examples are the dwarf cereals of the “Green Revolution” in which modification of stature succeeded in changing plant stature and repartitioning resources such that yields were dramatically improved. A number of dwarfs arose in a rabbiteye blueberry breeding population, and we sought to evaluate the value of these dwarfs, and whether they might act as starting points for further breeding and recovery of dwarf or semi-dwarf rabbiteye types possessing a reduced stature more similar to highbush blueberry. We found that dwarfism appears to follow a generally recessive inheritance model. A dwarf segregant, US 2194-A, appears to have value for reliably generating dwarf phenotypes across a range of cultivated blueberry material and may be useful in generating both culinary and ornamental blueberry selections. This information will be of value to breeders seeking to produce rabbiteye blueberries with reduced stature.
Technical Abstract: Dwarf phenotypes were observed to segregate from an interploid 6x × 5x rabbiteye blueberry cross of ‘Montgomery’ × US 1771. To evaluate inheritance, several dwarf segregants were used as pollen sources onto both rabbiteye cultivars and species-introgressed rabbiteye hybrids. Segregation ratios of normal to dwarfs in offspring populations ranged from 6.2:1 to 8.8:1. The dwarfism appears to follow a generally recessive model; however, a limited number of dwarf × dwarf crosses segregated both normal and dwarf types, suggesting that epistatic interactions may also be involved. A dwarf segregant from the ‘Montgomery’ × US 1771 cross, US 2194-A, appears to have value for reliably generating dwarf phenotypes across a range of 6x material and may be useful in generating both production and ornamental blueberry selections.