Photograph of Glen Fyne raspberries bred at the Institute

The most popular cultivar in the UK, ‘Glen Ample’, was released from the Institute programme in the 1990s.

Raspberry breeding at the Institute was established in the 1950s and has produced a range of commercially successful cultivars, from the initial ‘Glen Clova’ to the latest ‘Glen Dee’.

The programme was initially aimed at producing cultivars for the Scottish processing industry but changes in the market led to the industry in Scotland and the rest of the UK focusing predominantly on the fresh market. The objectives of the programme are now mainly related to the latter market, such as shelf-life and sensory characters. The most popular cultivar in the UK from the programme, ‘Glen Ample’, was released from the Institute programme in the 1990s. A range of other cultivars are now available with Glen Mor being the first cultivar with resistance to raspberry root rot and high fruit quality and yield.

The breeding programme maintains a broad germplasm base to meet the rapidly changing requirements of the UK raspberry industry. Machine harvestable types for processing are still under development but the primary focus is on the selection of cultivars suitable for production under protected cropping systems. The identification of germplasm suitable for season extension under tunnels is also part of the programme. Resilience and sustainability traits along with those contributing to the economics of production are key goals in light of climate change, reduction in actives and resource limitations including labour.

Figure 1: Raspberry plots grown undercover in polytunnels at the James Hutton Institute

Figure 1: Raspberry plots grown undercover in polytunnels at the James Hutton Institute.

A key objective is to incorporate resistance/tolerance to pest and disease and make cultivars suitable for growing under integrated systems. The main disease problem in raspberry is root rot caused by Phytophthora fragariae var. rubi, which can cause catastrophic loss of crop and plantation (Jennings et al. 2003). Marker assisted selection has been used to develop resistant cultivars with Glen Mor being the first of these to be released. A range of other markers are currently nbeing deployed including for cane diseases, fruit size and fruit softening.


Progeny from a cross between cv. Latham (resistant) and cv. Glen Moy (susceptible)

Figure 2: Progeny from a cross between cv. Latham (resistant) and cv. Glen Moy (susceptible) grown in field soil containing inoculum of Phytophthera fragariae var. rubi. Some plants are highly resistant (left), while susceptible plants (right) are killed.

The large raspberry aphid (Amphorophora idaei) is the vector for four major raspberry viruses and the programme is currently using resistance based on the gene A10. This confers resistance to four biotypes of the pest, although resistance-breaking biotypes are now reported. New sources of aphid resistance are therefore being sought for the future breeding of resistant cultivars.

Considerable research effort has been placed on the development of markers linked to traits of interest in raspberr at James Hutton Institute, notably resistance to root rot and quality-related traits. The first linkage map of raspberry was published by the group in 2004 (Graham, Smith et al. 2004) and further enhancement of the map has continued to date with new maps being developed as appropriate.

Currently, the funding for the breeding programme comes from the Scottish Raspberry Breeding Consortium, consisting of thirteen members from all sectors of the industry, including growers, propagators and marketing groups, with underpinning funding from RESAS, Scottish Government.

Contact: Nikki Jennings


The blackberry breeding programme at the James Hutton Institute/Mylnefield Research Services has produced commercially successful cultivars, including `Loch Ness’, which is grown across Europe and North America. The programme is aimed at developing thorn-free, early season types for the commercial and amateur markets and other releases are `Loch Tay’ and the most recent `Loch Maree’. New germplasm has been brought into the programme to broaden the genetic base and further releases are planned for the future.

Released by the Institute in the 1970s, ‘Tayberry’ is a hybrid between a tetraploid raspberry and ‘Aurora’ blackberry, and has proved a worldwide commercial success. The Institute and Mylnefield Research Services are now looking to produce further hybrid berries, with improved habit and agronomic traits.

Fruit quality and sweetness is a current focus.

Figure 3: Loch Maree blackberry

Figure 3: Loch Maree blackberry


Graham, J., Smith, K., McKenzie, K., Milne, L., Jenjnings, N., Mateos, B., Hackett, C. 2022. Developmental QTL in a red raspberry primocane x biennial raspberry population that exhibit primocane fruiting. Journal of Horticulture vol 9 iss 5 no 308.

Scolari, L., Hancock, R., Hedley, P., Morris, J., Smith, K., Graham, J. 2021 Combining QTL mapping and gene expression analysis to elucidate the genetic control of crumbly fruit in red raspberry Agronomy 11, 794.

Williams, D., Hackett, CA, Karley, A., Mccallum, S., Smith, K., Britten, A., Graham, J. 2021 Seeing the wood for the trees: hyperspectral imaging for high throughput QTL detection in raspberry, a perennial crop species. Fruit Research 1:7.

Foster, T., Bassil, N., Dossett, M., Worthington, ML., Graham, J., 2019. Genetic and genomic resources for Rubus breeding: a roadmap for the future. HORTRES vol 6, no 116.

Hackett, C., Milne, L., Smith, K., Hedley, P., Morris, J., Simpson, C., Preedy, K., Graham, J. 2019. Enhancement of Glen Moy x Latham raspberry linkage map usinf GbS to further understand control of developmental processes to fruit ripening. BMC genetics 19:59

Simpson, C., Cullen, D., Hackett, C., Hallett, P., McNicol, J., Woodherd, M., Graham, J. 2016. mapping and expression of genes associated with raspberry fruit ripening and softening. Theoretical and applied Genetics 130(2) 159-172

McKenzie, K., Williamson, S., Smith, K., Woodhead, M., McCallum, S., Graham, J. 2015. Characterisation of the Gene H region in red raspberry: Exploring its role in cane morphology, disease resistance and timing of fruit ripening. Journal of horticulture 2:3

Graham, J., Hein, I., Russell, J., Woodhead, M., Gordon, S.C., Smith, K., Jorgensen, L., Brennan, R. and Powell, W. 2004. The use of genomics technologies in contemporary Rubus and Ribes breeding programmes. Acta Horticulturae 649, 319-322.

Graham, J., Smith, K., MacKenzie, K., Jorgensen, L., Hackett, C. and Powell, W. 2004. The construction of a genetic linkage map of red raspberry (Rubus idaeus subsp. idaeus) based on AFLPs, genomic-SSR and EST-SSR markers. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 109, 740-749.

Jennings, S.N., Brennan, R. and Gordon, S.C. 2003. Commercial breeding for pest and disease resistance in cane and bush fruits. IOBC/wprs Bulletin 26, 67.