Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 59, Issue 6, pp 1055–1075 | Cite as

Characterization of American hazelnut (Corylus americana) accessions and Corylus americana × Corylus avellana hybrids using microsatellite markers

  • Vidyasagar R. Sathuvalli
  • Shawn A. MehlenbacherEmail author
Research Article


The American hazelnut (Corylus americana Marshall) is native to the eastern United States and Southern Canada. In the early decades of the last century, breeding work by several individuals attempted to combine the cold hardiness and disease resistance of the American hazelnut with the larger nut size of the European hazelnut (C. avellana L.). Many hybrid selections grown today trace back to these early efforts. Over the past three decades, representatives of C. americana were collected and are preserved in Corvallis, Oregon. Seeds were collected along roadsides, in hedgerows, in woodland clearings, and in gardens. The seeds were germinated and the best of the resulting seedlings were preserved for later use. In this study, genetic diversity was studied in 87 American and 67 hybrid hazelnut selections using 21 microsatellite loci. The total number of alleles was 266 in the 162 accessions examined, of which 229 were present in C. americana accessions, but only 168 in the Arbor Day Farm hybrids, and 116 in the hybrids of C. americana ‘Rush’. In the American accessions, a high level of genetic diversity was observed (H e  = 0.74, H o  = 0.68). A genetic similarity matrix of the American and hybrid accessions, and a few European cultivars, was constructed and the resulting dendrogram revealed seven major groups: European cultivars and ‘Rush’ hybrids, two groups of Arbor Day Farm hybrids, three groups of C. americana accessions, and a mixed group of hybrid and American accessions. Analysis confirmed the reported parentage of 10 hybrids. The genetic diversity among the American hazelnut accessions, untapped to date, will be useful in breeding hybrids that will allow expansion of hazelnut production into eastern North America.


Corylus americana Filbert Fingerprinting Germplasm characterization Simple sequence repeats 



This research was supported by funds from the Oregon Hazelnut Commission, State of Oregon, Hatch Act, and USDA Specialty Crops Research Initiative Grant 2009-51181-06028.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vidyasagar R. Sathuvalli
    • 1
  • Shawn A. Mehlenbacher
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of HorticultureOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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