Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 66, Issue 8, pp 1713–1725 | Cite as

Cross-transferability analysis of SSR markers developed from the American Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) to other Vaccinium species of agricultural importance

  • Lorraine Rodriguez-BonillaEmail author
  • Jessica Rohde
  • Daniel Matusinec
  • Juan ZalapaEmail author
Research Article


Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) breeding is evolving as consumer demand increases for specialty products such as sweetened and dried cranberries. New varieties are needed with not only higher yield and better adaptations to biotic (e.g., fungal fruit rot) and abiotic (e.g., cold tolerance) stressors, but also with increased fruit quality for processing and human nutrition. Cranberry is one of the few species in the genus Vaccinium that is utilized as a crop. However, the genus is composed of many understudied and underused species, such as wild blueberries and cranberries, lingonberries, and deerberries. Many of these species are cross-compatible and possess an array of traits of high agronomical value that may be commercially exploited through intrasectional or intersectional interspecific breeding. In order to provide a toolset for Vaccinium breeders, we tested the cross-transferability of 507 V. macrocarpon simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers on 17 different Vaccinium species. We found 61 SSR markers that consistently amplified and produced scorable bands across all 17 species tested. The ability of the markers to discriminate species based on their genetic relationships was tested for future use in phylogenetics. We genetically discriminated the different species and sections of the genus, providing an insightful look into the genetic relationship of species in this genus. These markers represent a working set of SSRs to use for the development of Vaccinium interspecific hybrids and to allow the development of population genetic studies of poorly understood species.


Vaccinium Marker cross-transferability SSR markers Vaccinium macrocarpon 



We are grateful to Drs. Jennifer Johnson-Cicalese and Nicholi Vorsa from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and the Philip E. Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry, Chatsworth NJ and Dr. Kim Hummer and staff of the United States Department of Agriculture National Clonal Germplasm Repository at Corvallis, OR for the samples supplied for this research. We thank UW-Madison and the Cranberry Genetics and Genomics Lab members for their contributions, especially Walter Salazar and Giovanny Eduardo Covarrubias Pazaran. We also thank the anonymous reviewers who helped enhance the quality of this paper. JZ would like to express his gratitude through Ps 136:1.

Author contributions

LRB and JZ design the study; JZ provided plant material; LRB performed the experiment; LRB DM and JR analyzed the data; LRB and JZ wrote the manuscript.


This project was supported by USDA-ARS (Project No. 5090-21220-004-00-D provided to JZ); WI-DATCP (SCBG Project #14-002); Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.; Wisconsin Cranberry Growers Association; Cranberry Institute. LRB was supported in part by the UW Madison SciMed GRS.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10722_2019_826_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (250 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 250 kb)


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HorticultureUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Political ScienceUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  3. 3.USDA-ARS, Vegetable Crops Research UnitUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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