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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: GENETIC IMPROVEMENT OF FRUIT CROPS THROUGH FUNCTIONAL GENOMICS AND BREEDING

Location: Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory: Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement and Protection

Title: Pitless plum: reality or fantasy

Authors
item Callahan, Ann
item Dardick, Christopher
item Scorza, Ralph

Submitted to: Chronica Horticulturae
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: July 29, 2011
Publication Date: September 8, 2011
Citation: Callahan, A.M., Dardick, C.D., Scorza, R. 2011. Pitless plum: reality or fantasy. Chronica Horticulturae. 51:18-22.

Interpretive Summary: Seedless fruit and vegetables are very popular with consumers. Over the years, breeders have taken advantage of natural mutations and new technologies to provide these seedless varieties. Stone fruit, such as peaches, plums, cherries, and apricots, not only contain a seed but the seed is surrounded by a hard shell, the stone. Currently, there are no stoneless and seedless varieties available. The article reviews what is known about stone developent and seed development, and the possible approaches to breed for stoneless and seedless plums.

Technical Abstract: Luther Burbank began a breeding program to produce stoneless plums (Prunus domestica) over 100 years ago. He released two plums, 'Miracle' and 'Conquest', whose fruit contained only a very small part of the stone. These plums are no longer available. In today's world of convenience, a plum that does not contain either the stone or the seed might be very welcome. Is it possible to again produce plum cultivars that are completely stoneless and seedless? A combination of gained knowledge in genetics and breeding, molecular technology, and remnants of stoneless germplasm, probably from Burbank's program, suggest that it is possible to now produce a pitless plum.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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