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Fruit detachment in blueberry (Vaccinium sp.) may occur through the physiological process of abscission or through physical separation by breakage. Natural and induced fruit detachment through abscission occurs at the peduncle–pedicel junction (PPJ), while detachment through breakage typically occurs at the fruit–pedicel junction (FPJ). The ease of fruit detachment varies across blueberry genotypes, and a better understanding of such variation may allow for the development of genotypes better suited for hand and mechanical harvesting. TH-729 and ‘Suziblue’ are sibling southern highbush blueberry (hybrids composed largely of Vaccinium corymbosum and Vaccinium darrowi) genotypes derived from the same cross (‘Star’ × TH-474) and differ in their fruit detachment characteristics. Anatomical and molecular basis of the difference in fruit detachment between these genotypes was investigated in this study. Greater than 85% of the mature fruit of TH-729 detached at the PPJ in response to mechanical shaking in contrast to that observed in ‘Suziblue’, where greater than 90% of the fruit detached at the FPJ. The anatomy of the abscission zones (AZs) at the PPJ was similar between the two genotypes indicating that they did not differ in the establishment of the AZ. The fracture plane at the PPJ of manually detached fruit was more even in TH-729 compared with that in ‘Suziblue’, where many ruptured cells were evident. These data suggest advanced progression of abscission at the PPJ in TH-729 compared with that in ‘Suziblue’. The expression of 28 genes related to cell wall and membrane metabolism, phytohormone metabolism and signaling, and transcriptional regulation was compared between the two genotypes. Of these, two genes, ILL1 (iaa-leu resistant 1 like 3) and BIM1 (bes-interacting myc like1), associated with auxin metabolism and brassinosteroid signaling displayed over 3-fold and 1.5-fold higher transcript accumulation, respectively, in TH-729. Also, OPR1 (12-oxophytodienoate reductase), a gene associated with jasmonate (JA) biosynthesis, displayed 33% lower transcript levels in TH-729. As phytohormone signaling regulates the acquisition of competence for abscission, these data suggest that this phase of abscission progression at the PPJ differed between the two genotypes. Together, data from this study suggest inherent differences in the progression of abscission at the PPJ in blueberry. Such variation can be exploited to develop genotypes with desired harvesting characteristics.

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and Sherman, 1971 ). Vaccinium darrowi is a low-growing fire-adapted evergreen species that has no chilling requirement. It produces small berries and has a relatively long bloom-to-ripe berry development period. The recurrent selection process that

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glycosides. The composition of phenolic acids in cranberry leaves has not been reported in the literature, although the phenolic composition of leaves of related species Vaccinium myrtillus ( Witzell et al., 2003 ) and Vaccinium darrowi ( Ranger et al

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. 78 1427 1437 Lyrene, P.M. 1986 Variation within Vaccinium darrowi blueberry in Florida HortScience 21 512 514 Meader, E.M. Darrow, G.M. 1944 Pollination of the rabbiteye blueberry and related species Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 45 267 274 Merrill, T

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at meiosis: Genomic similarity of diploid Vaccinium darrowi and autotetraploid V. corymbosum ( Ericaceae ) Amer. J. Bot. 85 698 703 Rousi, A. 1966 Cytological observations on some species and hybrids of Vaccinium Zuchter 36 352 359 Sanford, J

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.21273/HORTSCI.17.1.53 Chavez, D.J. 2008 Hybridization of various races of Vaccinium darrowi with cultivated highbush blueberry, V. arboreum , and V. fuscatum Univ. Florida Gainesville MS Thesis Cockerham, L

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Pucciniastrum vaccinii in Hawaii Plant Dis. 92 1590.1 Luping, Q. Hancock, J.F. Whallon, J.H. 1998 Evolution in an autopolyploid group displaying predominantly bivalent pairing at meiosis: Genomic similarity of diploid Vaccinium darrowi and autotetraploid V

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Vaccinium HortScience 2 52 57 Lyrene, P.M. Sherman, W.B. 1980 Horticultural characteristics of native Vaccinium darrowi, V. elliottii, V. fuscatum , and V. myrsinites in Alachua county, Florida J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 105 393 396 Lyrene, P.M. Sherman, W

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.E. 1980 The significance of genic balance to endosperm development in interspecific crosses Theor. Appl. Genet. 57 5 9 10.1007/BF00276002 Lyrene, P.M. 1986 Variation within Vaccinium darrowi blueberry in Florida

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Setauket, NY Rowland, L.J. Levi, A. 1994 RAPD-based genetic linkage map of blueberry derived from a cross between diploid species ( Vaccinium darrowi and V. elliottii ) Theor. Appl. Genet. 87 863 868 10.1007/BF

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