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Richard G. Novy and Nicholi Vorsa

Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) has few qualitative, morphological characteristics that can be used to reliably distinguish among cultivars. Fifty-two silver-stained random amplified polymorphic DNAs (ssRAPDs) were used to assess genetic heterogeneity and relatedness within accessions of four major cranberry cultivars (`Early Black', `Howes', `McFarlin', and `Searles'). Rather than being represented by one genotype, as might be expected in an asexually propagated crop, each cultivar was represented by multiple genotypes, which in many cases did not appear to be closely related to one another. The intracultivar heterogeneity was often so extreme that clonal representatives of a cultivar would group with representatives of other cultivars following cluster analysis. Of the total ssRAPD variation, 9.7% could be attributed to variation among the four cultivar groups and 90.3% to variation within the cultivars. `Howes' was the only cultivar in which a consensus DNA fingerprint among regional representatives could be identified.