EVALUATION OF MENTOR POLLINATION FOR BLUEBERRY BREEDING

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  • 1 Fruit Crops Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

Two clones of anthocyanin-deficient (AD) Vaccinium elliottii (2×, homozygous recessive, yy) were used as seed parents in experiments combining normal and AD pollen. AD gives a seedling marker to distinguish the pollen parent. In the first experiment, flowers were pollinated daily for one, two, three or four days. AD and normal V. elliottii pollen were applied on separate days. The last day of each treatment received the opposite genotype from the previous day(s). The first pollination gave as many, or more, seedlings as later applications but the number of seeds per fruit was higher with multiple pollen applications. The second experiment used pollen from normal V. corymbosum (4×) alone or mixed with AD pollen from the 2× clones. Results depended on the seed-parent genotype. There was no difference between treatments in the number of hybrids produced by W81-1, which tends to set fruit even with only one seed per berry. Only mixed pollen yielded hybrids from clone FL83-139, which was never observed to produce berries with only one seed; apparently the mentor AD pollen helps to set the fruit, thereby allowing the rare hybrid seeds to develop.

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