The American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), a crop known for its many health benefits, has a limited history of genetic improvement. This is in part due to a long breeding cycle as a consequence of lengthy establishment periods (2–4 yr) followed by long evaluation periods (4–5 yr). My research intends to shorten the evaluation period by providing technological tools to advance phenotyping efficiency and accuracy, providing higher resolution and lower error data on cranberry traits. Moreover, its goal is to provide efficient selection on new cranberry lines using early trait markers. My first 2018 season of data collection on elite-line breeding populations using an unmanned aerial vehicle for field image acquisition is wrapping up. Traits to be assessed include ecto- and endo-dormancy transitions of population genotypes, flowering, berry ripening, development, coloring, and yield. Models are currently being trained to ground-truth data to see the value of using such an approach to efficient collection of traits on populations in the field. Additionally, design and construction of phenotyping systems on seedling vigor are in development for lab and greenhouse experimentation, with the goal of using higher-spectral imaging systems to assess intrinsic and extrinsic stress responses, their impact on vigor, and provide high-efficiency, early-selection of elite inbred lines. This system should not only advance the quality of cranberry germplasm moving forward but will also allow assessment and selection of higher numbers of individuals critical to advancing genetics studies and breeding.
Patterson SE, Bolivar-Medina JL, Falbel TG, Hedtcke JL, Nevarez-McBride D, Maule AF, Zalapa JE. Are We on the Right Track: Can Our Understanding of Abscission in Model Systems Promote or Derail Making Improvements in Less Studied Crops? Front Plant Sci. 2016 Jan 26;6:1268. PMCID: PMC4726918.
Maule A, Henning G, Patterson S. Love Me Not Meter: A Sensor Device for Detecting Petal Detachment Forces in Arabidopsis thaliana. Methods Mol Biol. 2017;1573:245-252.