Allelic variation in candidate genes for ornamental traits in blueberry
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Several genes play major roles in controlling architectural and flowering traits of ornamental value. EcoTILLING can be performed to identify genotypes that have functional allelic variation in the genes. The identified genotypes can be used to develop native ornamental plants. This research was initiated with highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), a native species with a sequenced genome and an established germplasm collection. In this study, we have identified the blueberry orthologs of TERMINAL FLOWER1 (TFL1), AGAMOUS (AG), GA20-OXIDASE, and BRANCHED (BRC1) using a comparative genomics approach. EcoTILLING was performed using HRM analysis and amplicon sequencing in the blueberry germplasm collection. We found 18 SNPs in the coding sequence of VcTFL1 including one non-synonymous mutation which have been predicted to have deleterious effect in protein function. The identified deleterious mutation could potentially be used for breeding ornamental blueberry. Using the similar approach, allelic diversity will be searched in the AG, GA20-OXIDASE, and BRC1.