Title : Technological advances for in vitro culture and genetic enhancement of horticultural crops
I n vitro and molecular techniques are important biotechnological tools that can speed up production technologies in horticultural crops. Small fruits including Fragaria (strawberry; Rosaceae), Rubus (brambles: raspberry and blackberry; Rosaceae) and Vaccinium (blueberry, cranberry and lingonberry; Ericaceae) are commercially important health-promoting horticultural crops that are believed to have significant role in anti-tumor, anti-ulcer, anti-oxidant and antiinflammatory activities. Lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium spp. L.), cranberry (V. macrocarpon Ait.) and lingonberry (V. vitis-idaea L.) are three berry crops important to Canadian cool climates. Wildberry production systems are changing to a more intensive cultivated system leading to an urgent need for developing new techniques for selecting and establishing high-yielding, quality crops which are well-adapted to diverse biotic and abiotic conditions. The presentation concentrates on: wild berry germplasm characterization at molecular, biochemical and morphological levels and their utilization in hybrid development using in vitro and molecular techniques. Technological advances in bioreactor micropropagation in a liquid medium and use of in vitro and molecular techniques in hybrid development of berry crops have been described in detail. Epigenetic studies in micropropagated plants and biodiversity analysis in wild germplasm will contribute significantly in planning future production and improvement programs of horticultural crops.