Location: Horticultural Crops Research
Project Number: 5358-21220-002-00
Start Date: Mar 21, 2013
End Date: Mar 20, 2018
For each crop, a modified recurrent mass selection system that is very effective for perennial, asexually propagated plants will be followed. Individuals that are selected in a given generation will be intercrossed to produce the next generation. Additional sources of variation (e.g., current cultivars, selections from other breeding programs, or wild selections) will be introduced to the parental pool as needed. Anywhere from 4000-6000 seedlings of Rubus spp. and strawberry, and 3000-4000 blueberry seedlings, all produced from 30-100 crosses, will be evaluated annually. While the primary focus is on cultivars for commercial fruit production, in the process of conducting a breeding program you inevitably identify selections that would be useful for the commercial nursery industry as landscape plants. Since our evaluations system is not geared towards ornamental plants, we try to get these promising selections into commercial nurseries for evaluation. For broadening the germplasm base, superior individuals or representatives of superior populations of small fruit species will be crossed among themselves or with advanced selections or cultivars. Selections from these crosses will be used in our breeding program and distributed to other breeders. Emphasis will be on aphid resistance, disease resistance, fruit quality, thornlessness and tolerance to abiotic stresses associated with climate change. Viruses that have significant impact on yield and fruit quality will be sequenced using dsRNAs, small RNAs or Rolling Circle Amplification products as template for sequencing using Nexgen sequencing. Virus diversity will be characterized to ensure diagnostic assays are broad spectrum and useful for epidemiology studies, certification and quarantine purposes. Virus vectors will be identified and strategies for vector control developed as a means to manage virus diseases in commercial plantings.