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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Management of Temperate-Adapted Fruit, Nut, and Specialty Crop Genetic Resources and Associated Information

Location: National Clonal Germplasm Repository (Corvallis, Oregon)

Title: Fingerprints for fruit and nut crops

Authors
item Hummer, Kim
item Bassil, Nahla

Submitted to: Chronica Horticulturae
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2013
Publication Date: May 30, 2013
Citation: Hummer, K.E., Bassil, N.V. 2013. Fingerprints for fruit and nut crops. Chronica Horticulturae. 53(2):3-6.

Interpretive Summary: We in horticulture should be more aware of the identity of the plants that we use. We appreciate scientists who can determine species and cultivars with their botanical knowledge and keen powers of observation. However, sometimes plant identity is more than meets the eye. Fingerprints serve as a highly accurate way to identify human individuals of interest. Frequently we in the plant science world seek confirmation of plant identity, i.e., a so-called “fingerprint” for plants. In this paper we summarize recent advances in genetic tools used to confirm the unique identity of plants; to act as a plant fingerprint. A summary of different chemical and molecular techniques that have been developed over the past 50 years is given. The paper describes a technique that uses microsatellite DNA markers. This technique has identified and separated unique types of apples, strawberries, raspberries, hazelnuts, cherries and pears. It has also identified unknown parentage of fruit plants. This technique is relatively inexpensive and the results can readily be transferred to appropriately equipped molecular laboratories. This paper suggest that with the advent of rapid, relatively inexpensive molecular fingerprinting techniques, perhaps a new class of plant distribution from nurseries, that of “identity certified” stock, could be established for horticultural purposes.

Technical Abstract: We in horticulture should be more aware of the identity of the plants that we use. We appreciate scientists who can determine species and cultivars with their botanical knowledge and keen powers of observation. However, sometimes plant identity is more than meets the eye. Fingerprints serve as a highly accurate way to identify human individuals of interest. Frequently we in the plant science world seek confirmation of plant identity, i.e., a so-called “fingerprint” for plants. In this paper we summarize recent advances in genetic tools used to confirm the unique identity of plants; to act as a plant fingerprint. A summary of different chemical and molecular techniques that have been developed over the past 50 years is given. The paper describes a technique that uses microsatellite DNA markers. This technique has identified and separated unique types of apples, strawberries, raspberries, hazelnuts, cherries and pears. It has also identified unknown parentage of fruit plants. This technique is relatively inexpensive and the results can readily be transferred to appropriately equipped molecular laboratories. This paper suggest that with the advent of rapid, relatively inexpensive molecular fingerprinting techniques, perhaps a new class of plant distribution from nurseries, that of “identity certified” stock, could be established for horticultural purposes.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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