2022 journal article

Nuclear DNA contents and ploidy levels of North American Vaccinium species and interspecific hybrids


By: L. Redpath n, R. Aryal n, N. Lynch n, J. Spencer n, A. Hulse-Kemp n, J. Ballington n, J. Green*, N. Bassil* ...

author keywords: Blueberry; Vaccinium; Flowcytometry; Propidium iodide; K -mer analysis
UN Sustainable Development Goal Categories
13. Climate Action (Web of Science)
15. Life on Land (OpenAlex)
Source: Web Of Science
Added: May 16, 2022

Breeding strategies for improving blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum and V. virgatum) cultivars often include introgressing regionally adapted species into the cultivated gene pools through interspecific hybridization. However, these approaches are complicated by variation in ploidy, triploid blocks and infertility, production of unreduced gametes, and aneuploidy. The objective of this study was to use flow cytometry, k-mer distribution analysis, and known pedigree information to evaluate genome sizes (2C nuclear and 1Cx monoploid), and ploidy of diverse accessions from Vaccinium sections and species. A total of 369 accessions, including a diversity panel (DP) of 251 inter- and intra-specific hybrid Vaccinium accessions, as well as 118 non-hybrid Vaccinium species across multiple sections, were sampled from the North Carolina State University blueberry breeding program and the National Clonal Germplasm Repository. The nuclear DNA content was analyzed via flow cytometry. The mean (range) DNA content of diploid, tetraploid, and hexaploid reference species were 1.20 pg (0.99 pg in V. crassifolium ‘Well's Delight’ to 1.41 pg in V. caesariense NC79–24), 2.37 pg (2.11 pg in V. corymbosum ‘Concord’ to 3.01 pg in V. corymbosum DE599), and 3.64 pg (3.24 in V. constablaei NC83–21–2 to 3.80 in V. virgatum ‘Premier’ and NC4790), respectively. Of the 369 unique accessions analyzed for ploidy, 259 were tetraploid, 46 were diploid, one was triploid, 51 were pentaploid or aneuploid with 2C values between tetraploid and hexaploid values, and 12 were hexaploid. Tetraploid hybrid pedigrees, which involved hexaploid crosses within three prior generations, had a 2C value range between 2.22 pg and 2.59 pg. Interspecific pentaploid and aneuploid progeny 2C DNA content ranged from 2.61 pg to 3.15 pg. We speculate some of these progeny to be near tetraploids with extra chromosomes from hexaploid progenitors. Further karyotyping of these individuals is necessary to ascertain aneuploidy anomalies. This research provides an expanded knowledge base of genome sizes, ploidy, and reproductive pathways for diverse species and hybrids to enhance future breeding, improvement, and the genomic study of blueberry.