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Discrimination of American Cranberry Cultivars and Assessment of Clonal Heterogeneity Using Microsatellite Markers

Fanjardo, D., Morales, J., Zhu, H., Steffan, S., Harbur, R., Bassil, N., Hummer, K., Polashock, J., Vorsa, N., Zalapa, J.
Plant molecular biology reporter 2013 v.31 no.2 pp. 264
Vaccinium macrocarpon, alleles, cluster analysis, cranberries, cultivars, environmental factors, fruit crops, genetic heterogeneity, genetic markers, hybrids, indigenous species, microsatellite repeats, parents, progeny
Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) are an economically important fruit crop derived from a North American native species. We report the application of 12 simple sequence repeats (SSR) or microsatellite markers to assess the genetic diversity of cranberry cultivars. We studied 164 samples of 21 different cranberry cultivars, 11 experimental hybrids, and 6 representative accessions of wild species. Genetic cluster analysis, based on 117 SSR alleles, differentiated the major cranberry cultivars. However, some cranberry cultivar subclone variants and mislabeled samples were observed. Consensus genetic profiles identified the most likely clonal representatives of several important cranberry cultivars (e.g., “Ben Lear,” “Howes,” and “Stevens”). The markers were further used to confirm putative parents of several hybrid progenies. The long-term goal of our studies is to identify, preserve, and utilize unique genetic materials to breed improved cranberries. Attaining this goal will help growers maintain sustainability under changing economic and environmental conditions.