Interest in molecular markers and genetic maps is growing among researchers developing new cultivars of Rubus L. (raspberry and blackberry). Several traits of interest fail to express in seedlings or reliably in some environments and are candidates for marker-assisted selection. A growing number of simple sequence repeat (SSR) molecular markers derived from Rubus and Fragaria L. (strawberry) are available for use with Rubus mapping populations. The objectives of this study were to test 142 of these SSR markers to screen raspberry and blackberry parental genotypes for potential use in existing mapping populations that segregate for traits of interest, determine the extent of inter-species and inter-genera transferability with amplification, and determine the level of polymorphism among the parents. Up to 32 of the SSR primer pairs tested may be useful for genetic mapping in both the blackberry population and at least one of the raspberry populations. The maximum number of SSR primer pairs found useable for mapping was 60 for the raspberry population and 45 for the blackberry population. Acquisition of many more nucleotide sequences from red raspberry, black raspberry, and blackberry are required to develop useful molecular markers and genetic maps for these species. Rubus, family Rosaceae, is a highly diverse genus that contains hundreds of heterozygous species. The family is one of the most agronomically important plant families in temperate regions of the world, although they also occur in tropical and arctic regions as well. The most important commercial subgenus of Rubus is Idaeobatus Focke, the raspberries, which are primarily diploids. This subgenus contains the european red raspberry R. idaeus ssp. idaeus L., as well as the american black raspberry R. occidentalis L. and the american red raspberry R. idaeus ssp. strigosus Michx. Interspecific hybridization of these, and other raspberry species, has led to greater genetic diversity and allowed for the introgression of superior traits such as large fruit size, fruit firmness and quality, disease resistance, and winter hardiness.
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