|S. Strautiņa, G. Lācis, K. Kampuss
|black currants, germplasm, multivariate statistics, characterization
Black currants (Ribes sp.) are one of the most important berry crops in Europe.
Intensive breeding work resulted in cultivars with high technological qualities, valuable biochemical content and relatively good resistance to diseases and pests.
At the same time, improvement of the cultivar ecological plasticity and adaptation capacity for growing in different agro-climatic conditions is still necessary due to the climate changes, as well as to obtain disease and pest-resistant cultivars.
Significant issue in the development of high quality cultivars is selection of parents.
Diverse genetic resources can be a good source for this purpose; therefore their comprehensive assessment is of great importance.
The collection of the Institute of Horticulture (LatHort) includes a wide range of black currant germplasm.
Historically, ex-USSR material was extensively represented, while diverse material from all over the world has been included later in the collection, which currently can well represent black currant germplasm in general.
Multivariate statistical analysis was used to determine phenotypical variability and diversity among 123 black currant genotypes of different geographic and genetic origin, based on 34 traits, including plant phenology and morphology, yield parameters and quality, resistance to main diseases and pests.
Applied statistical approaches (cluster and principal component analysis) showed grouping of genotypes according to phenotypical characterization.
Despite the country or even the region of origin, black currant genotypes showed high phenotypic similarity, internal relatedness that can be explained by use of closely related genetic material in many breeding programs and the same goals of breeding.
These results point to an alarming trend in the further development of black currants, which in the future may lead to the diverse germplasm availability problems facing new challenges raised by climate change and the emergence of new or expansion of existing pathogens.
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