Fertility of Triploid Highbush Blueberry

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Blueberry and Cranberry Research Center, Rutgers University, Chatsworth, NJ 08019
  • | 2 Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695

Eight highbush blueberry (V. corymbosum L.) triploids (2n = 3x = 36) were crossed with diploids (2n = 2x = 24), tetraploids (2n = 4x = 48), and hexaploids (2n = 6x = 72). No plants were recovered from 4021 3x × 2x crosses. One triploid was relatively fertile in 3x × 4x and 3x × 6x crosses, which is most likely attributable to 2n gamete production in the triploid. The lack of fertility of triploids, which do not produce 2n gametes, in crosses with diploids and tetraploids suggests that the production of gametes with numerically balanced (n = 12 or 24) chromosome numbers is extremely low. In addition, the inability to recover progeny from 3x × 2x crosses also suggests that aneuploid gametophytes and/or zygotes, including trisomics, are inviable in blueberry. Pollen stainability was also highly reduced in triploids. Frequency distributions of anaphase I pole chromosomal constitutions of three triploids were significantly different from one another. Two of the three distributions were shifted toward the basic chromosome number of 12, with one triploid having 25% poles with 12 chromosomes. However, the sterility of 3x × 2x and 2x × 3x crosses indicates that lagging chromosomes during meiotic anaphases are probably not excluded from gametes, resulting in unbalanced gametes in blueberry. Triploids can be used as a bridge to facilitate gene transfer from the diploid and tetraploid levels to the hexaploid level in blueberry.

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