Where are we now as we merge genomics into plant breeding and what are our limitations? Experiences from RosBREED

A. Iezzoni, C. Weebadde, C. Peace, D. Main, N. V. Bassil, M. Coe, G. Fazio, K. Gallardo, K. Gasic, J. Luby, J. McFerson, E. Van De Weg, C. Yue

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

9 Scopus citations


The complete genome sequences of apple, peach, and diploid strawberry - one member of each of the three main fruit-producing branches of the Rosaceae tree - were available in 2010. Despite this achievement, virtually none of this genomics knowledge was being used to assist breeding efforts of these crops. Four years later, this gap has been bridged, with genetic information routinely used in many US apple, peach, and cherry breeding programs. For example, DNA tests predict apple crispness, peach maturity date, and cherry fruit size, enabling breeders to determine the best parents to combine and the best seedlings to advance. This application significantly reduces the wasted effort to eliminate entirely poor families and reduces the costs to grow and evaluate thousands of seedlings genetically destined to have unacceptable fruit quality or maturity date. This achievement was enabled by international community efforts, including the RosBREED project, funded by the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI). DNA tests are now applied for high-value attributes where the targeted loci explain a large proportion of the trait variation. However, limitations to widespread adoption of these predictive tests still exist. Some limitations are due to lack of knowledge, such as an understanding of genotype by environment (G×E) interactions and loci associated with variation for other valuable attributes. Technical limitations include streamlined phasing of alleles from multiple families of pedigree-connected breeding germplasm and access to suitable commercial service providers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication29th International Horticultural Congress on Horticulture
Subtitle of host publicationSustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes (IHC 2014): 2nd International Berry Fruit Symposium: Interactions! Local and Global Berry Research and Innovation
EditorsC.E. Finn, B. Mezzetti
PublisherInternational Society for Horticultural Science
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9789462611139
StatePublished - May 25 2016

Publication series

NameActa Horticulturae
ISSN (Print)0567-7572


  • Apple
  • Cherry
  • Genetic improvement
  • Marker-assisted breeding
  • Peach
  • Strawberry


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