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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Improving Disease Resistance, Fruit Quality, and Growth Habit of Temperate Fruit Crops Through Genetic Engineering

Location: Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory

Project Number: 8080-21000-023-04
Project Type: Nonfunded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jan 01, 2010
End Date: Dec 31, 2014

The objective of this project is to develop, through gene transfer technologies, stone fruits with resistance to Plum pox virus and an exotic invasive pathogen, rootstocks for fruit trees that will produce dwarf trees, and/or fruit with improved eating quality. The work at EPCOT falls under our research project plan.

Genetic engineering will be utilized to improve traits that have been either impossible or too time consuming to approach through traditional techniques. These traits include the development of dwarfing rootstocks for Pyrus (pear) and Prunus (stone fruits), the development of Plum pox virus resistant stone fruits, the improvement of fruit quality traits including the development of stoneless stone fruits, and the production of early flowering lines for speeding the fruit breeding process. We have developed a rapid high throughput transformation system in plum and a technology for early flowering and fruiting. We will use this system to rapidly test genes of interest. Those of interest will be applied for the improvement of stone fruits, particularly plum, and also pear. The genetically engineered plants developed at EPCOT will be further evaluated at Kearneysville in the greenhouse and field (with appropriate permits). The work at EPCOT is critical to us achieving our research project plan's milestones. The ARS staff at EPCOT is competent, motivated, and experienced. The facilities are good. We feel that achieving the objectives of the five-year-plan will provide not only good scientific information but also will lead us to the development of exciting new products for the pear and stone fruit industries.

Last Modified: 12/17/2014
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