Evaluation of Red Raspberry Cultivars Used for Breeding and Commercial Growing in the Baltic Region

Gunārs Lācis 1 , Irita Kota-Dombrovska 1  and Sarmīte Strautiņa 1
  • 1 Institute of Horticulture, Latvia University of Agriculture, Graudu iela 1, Ceriņi, Krimūnu pag., Dobeles nov., LV-3701, , Latvia

Abstract

The structure of raspberry cultivars and genetic resources in the Baltic countries have been influenced by the historical political situation in the 20th century and climatic conditions, especially winterhardiness. The genetic resources consist of some old European and American cultivars, but mostly of cultivars and hybrids bred in Russia. Currently, targeted breeding programmes are active only in Estonia and Latvia, which aim to develop winterhardy, disease-resistant cultivars, well adapted to the local climate. Therefore, parent material for hybridisation has been chosen from local advanced hybrids and introduced cultivars suitable to the regional climatic conditions. The aim of the study was to estimate the level of genetic diversity of Rubus germplasm and assess inter-specific and intra-specific relationships using phenotypical characterisation and molecular markers. Forty one Rubus genotypes were evaluated by 41 phenotypical traits and 15 previously described SSR markers. Both characterisation approaches discovered high correspondence with pedigree and a low level of diversity. A limited amount of the diversity of raspberry genetic material has been used in various breeding programmes, despite their broad geographical origin. The obtained results indicate the need for including local wild R. idaeus plant material into breeding programmes.

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