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Myneni Aruna, Max E. Austin and Peggy Ozias-Akins

Cultivars of the economically important rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei Reade) were differentiated at the DNA level using the technique of randomly amplified polymorphic DNA. Single decanucleotide primers of arbitrary sequence were used to amplify genomic DNA by the polymerase chain reaction. All cultivars tested exhibited a unique set of collective amplified fragments of distinct molecular weight. A blind fingerprinting experiment resulted in identification of unknown samples without ambiguity. We also clarified the genetic identity of two wild selections of rabbiteye blueberry, `Ethel' and `Satilla', which have been maintained as two different selections, hut are considered by some blueberry breeders to be of the same genetic constitution. The technique also verified the probable identity of two cultivars in a commercial blueberry field by comparing their amplified DNA patterns with those of standard cultivars. No variation was observed between the amplification profiles of `Brightwell' and its presumed sport. A cultivar key based on 11 markers amplified by four primers is presented.