Mode of inheritance of cold hardiness (CH) in woody perennials is not wellunderstood. This study was undertaken to determine the mode of inheritance and gene action of CH in blueberry (Vaccinium section Cyanococcus). Two testcross populations (segregating for CH) derived from interspecific hybrids of V. darrowi (drw) × V. caesariense (csr) were used. Plants were cold-acclimated by a 4-week exposure to 4°C. Bud CH (LT50) was defined as the temperature causing 50% injury (visual) when subjected to controlled freeze–thaw. Results show that the drw and csr parents had an LT50 of –13° and –20°C, respectively. The F1 population exhibited mean LT50 of –14.7°C. The csr and drw testcross populations had a mean LT50 of –18° (39 individuals) and –14°C (33 individuals), respectively. Individuals of each population were distributed between parental values with center of distribution skewed toward the testcross parent. Since individuals having LT50s as same as the recurrent parents were present in each population of only 33–39 plants, data suggest that CH is determined by relatively few genes. To determine gene action, the estimates for various genetic parameters (calculated from joint scaling test) were used in generation means analysis to test various models. Results indicate that CH in blueberry can be best explained by simple-additive dominance model, whereas models including epistatic components did not satisfactorily explain the data.
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