Berry Germplasm Evaluation for the Fraser Valley
Title: Berry Germplasm Evaluation for the Fraser Valley
Principal Investigator: Dr. Michael Dossett, Breeder and Geneticist, BCBC/RIDC/BCSGA
Duration: April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2023
This research project builds on the ongoing work of the BC Berry Breeding Program. It contributes to the genetic improvement of blueberry, raspberry, and strawberry germplasm by providing a basic understanding of the germplasm sources and inheritance patterns for traits such as resistance to regionally important diseases and insect pests. This involves basic genetic studies on patterns of inheritance and assessing the feasibility of making long-term genetic gain for traits such as improved adaptability to the local climate and pest and disease pressures as well as enhanced fruit quality traits; the development and application of screening techniques for insect and disease resistance as well as molecular biology tools for germplasm improvement; and recombination and recurrent selection within the gene pool via annual crosses as well as validation of genetic markers.
This research project has three specific objectives:
- Germplasm characterization: Acquisition and evaluation of new and existing genetic resources for improved adaptability to biotic (e.g., pest and disease) and abiotic (e.g., sun scald, cold hardiness) stresses; enhanced fruit yield and quality (e.g., firmness); and novel traits of interest (e.g., extended season of harvest). This involves basic genetic studies on patterns of inheritance, assessment of feasibility for selection and long-term prospects for genetic gain.
- Molecular and phenotypic selection tools: Development of new technologies and methods that streamline identification and selection of traits of interest in berry germplasm. With specific requirements for each berry crop, this includes development and application of screening techniques for insect and disease resistance as well as molecular biology tools for germplasm improvement.
- Recombination and recurrent selection: Recombination and recurrent selection of gene pools, in tandem with the above objectives, to validate genetic markers in a broader germplasm base and study trait inheritance. This is essential to integrating disease resistance and local climatic adaptation with fruit yield and quality traits in the existing germplasm pool.