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Nov 16

RosBREED: Improving the Profitability and Sustainability of the US Rosaceae Fruit Industry with Advanced Plant Breeding Tools

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Fresh and processed products of the Rosaceae plant family (almonds, apples, apricots, blackberries, peaches, pears, sweet cherries, tart cherries, strawberries, raspberries, roses and other ornamentals) provide vital contributions to human nutrition, health and well being.  Collectively their production constitutes the economic backbone of many rural communities with a collective U.S. farm gate value of approximately $10 billion.  Although current domestic production value of these crops is expanding in both domestic and export markets, the U.S. rosaceous crop industries face numerous limitations to profitability and sustainability. Overcoming these limitations requires rapid development and deployment of new cultivars with improved characteristics that meet dynamic industry market and consumer preferences.

The RosBREED project is developing and deploying genetic technologies that for the first time enable the cost-effective application of DNA diagnostic plant breeding tools in the first set of rosaceous crops (e.g. apple, peach, cherry and strawberry). We have created a broadly-accessible advanced breeding tools infrastructure for U.S. breeders and researchers, which allows everyone quick and easy access to a broad range of information. Our stakeholders and advisors include people from not only the production/processing sector but also the marketing sector of the supply chain, to prioritize breeding priorities. Substantial dollar savings have already been realized from the access and use of this information in breeding programs, by speeding up the breeding process, and early elimination of selections with poor quality fruit.  This dramatic increase in breeding efficiency will result in the more rapid availability of new cultivars with superior fruit quality for U.S. growers, increasing their profitability and competitiveness in the global marketplace. The knowledge and data gained are accessible on the project web site at http://www.rosbreed.org and through the Rosaceae genetics and genomics website at http://www.rosaceae.org.