Submitted to: Concise Encyclopedia of Temperate Zone Tree Fruits
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 2002
Publication Date: January 1, 2003
Citation: SCORZA, R. BREEDING AND MOLECULAR GENETICS. BAUGHER, T.A., SINGHA, S. EDITORS. THE HAWORTH PRESS, INC. BINGHAMTON, NY. CONCISE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TEMPERATE ZONE TREE FRUITS.2003.p.11-14. Technical Abstract: The development of new tree fruit varieties now, more than ever, will be critical to the supply of quality fruit in the market. Reduction in pesticide use, changing climatic conditions, and the worldwide movement of plant pathogens and insect pests require the development of new resistant varieties with high fruit quality and long shipping and shelf life. While the traditional breeding approach of hybridization and selection will remain a cornerstone of variety development, the new biotechnologies being developed and used for the genetic improvement of plant species have the potential to significantly impact the process. These technologies include genetic transformation for the development of transgenic plant varieties and genomics which includes molecular mapping and gene discovery. The need for these technologies arises from the fact that the development of new tree fruit cultivars, through hybridization and selection alone has been plagued by limiting factors. These factors include generation cycles of 3-20 years, high levels of heterozygosity, severe inbreeding depression, complex intraspecific incompatibility relationships, and nucellar embryony. The application of new technologies that will speed the pace of tree improvement is critically needed if tree fruit breeding is to remain a viable endeavor.