The genus Vaccinium L. (Ericaceae) contains a wide diversity of culturally and economically important berry crop species. Consumer demand and scientific research in blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) and cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) have increased worldwide over the crops' relatively short domestication history (~100 years). Other species, including bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), and ohelo berry (Vaccinium reticulatum) are largely still harvested from the wild but with crop improvement efforts underway. Here, we present a review article on these Vaccinium berry crops on topics that span taxonomy to genetics and genomics to breeding. We highlight the accomplishments made thus far for each of these crops, along their journey from the wild, and propose research areas and questions that will require investments by the community over the coming decades to guide future crop improvement efforts. New tools and resources are needed to underpin the development of superior cultivars that are not only more resilient to various environmental stresses and higher yielding, but also produce fruit that continue to meet a variety of consumer preferences, including fruit quality and health related traits.
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© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nanjing Agricultural University.