Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 3-2018


Franklin, M. (2018). Genetic diversity and distinctness of wild Nebraska hops and hop cultivars (Humulus lupus L.). Retrieved from DigitalCommons@UNL


Copyright Megan Franklin 2018


Background Commercial hop (Humulus lupulus) cultivars that are being grown in the Midwest are not performing as successfully as when they are grown in the Pacific Northwest, the region to which they are adapted. To increase adaptation to the Midwest environment, one strategy is to draw from the genetic pool of wild native Midwest hops, which have developed genes that allow them to grow successfully in this environment. Wild hop plants that are genetically distinct from commercial cultivars are likely to have more adaptations, such as pest/disease resistance and drought tolerance, which can be bred into commercial lines. The purpose of this study is to identify the genetic distinctness of two wild native Nebraska hop plants from 18 hop cultivars tested.

Methods DNA extractions and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis was done on the 20 hop accessions to generate hop genetic marker data. These markers were used for further software analyses of genetic diversity. Structural, Cluster, and Principle Component analyses were used to assess diversity among the 20 hops accessions and generate a phylogenetic tree of hop accessions.

Results We found that, of the two native Nebraska hops tested, Wild-1 was genetically distinct from the commercial cultivars, while Wild-2 was genetically similar to the cultivars Cascade and Saaz.

Conclusion Native Nebraska hop Wild-1 demonstrates that there indeed are native Midwest hops that are genetically distinct from the commercial cultivars tested. Therefore, breeders have a genetic source of potential environmental adaptations that can be utilized for the breeding of more successfully grown hops.