Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/5/2021
Publication Date: 3/11/2022
Citation: Ehlenfeldt, M.K., Polashock, J.J., Rowland, L.J. 2022. Fertile intersectional hybrids of 4x andean blueberry (Vaccinium meridionale) and 2x lingonberry (V. vitis-idaea). HortScience. 57:525-531. https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI16285-21.
Interpretive Summary: Considerable genetic diversity for valuable plant and fruit traits exists among distantly related blueberry relatives that typically cannot be intermated in order to transfer valuable traits. The South American blueberry species Vaccinium meridionale has shown value as a bridge to transfer genes between these distant relatives of Vaccinium. We successfully hybridized V. meridionale with V. vitis-idaea, also known as lingonberry. Plants of the first-generation hybrids produce strong plants with notable vigor and fertility. First generation hybrids were also successfully backcrossed to both lingonberry and V. meridionale. Further crosses are being made to evaluate the range of crossability of V. meridionale and the hybrid V. meridionale with other taxonomically distant blueberry species to assess their broad use for gene transfer among diverse Vaccinium species. These hybrids have the potential to significantly enlarge the genepool of lingonberry. This information will be of value to breeders of blueberry, cranberry, and lingonberry.
Technical Abstract: The blueberry species V. meridionale (Andean blueberry) has shown value as a bridge between diverse species in Vaccinium as either as a first-generation or second-generation parent. Tetraploid V. meridionale has hybridized successfully with diploid lingonberry. The first-generation hybrids are strong plants with notable vigor. First generation hybrids have successfully backcrossed to the parent species. These hybrids have the potential to significantly enlarge the genepool of lingonberry. It appears that these tetraploid hybrids may allow gene movement among these diverse sections at the tetraploid level. Further test-crosses are being made to evaluate the range of crossability of 4x V. meridionale and the hybrid V. meridionale tetraploids with other species of Vaccinium. This information will be of value to breeders of blueberry, cranberry, and lingonberry.