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FRUITICULTURE RESEARCH GROUP: Characterization, adaptation and breeding

The research activity of this group began more than 40 years ago. The basis of its work has been to study tree performance and improve genetic material of the main fruit tree species cultivated in Aragon and throughout Spain. The research group has maintained its central objective since its creation; to contribute to the development of sustainable fruticulture to meet the demands of society, producers, and consumers by developing new plant material and technologies, which increase the competitiveness and sustainability of the fruit growing sector in Aragon, Spain.

Currently, the group includes researchers from the Horticulture unit of CITA, the Pomology department of EE Aula Dei (CSIC), and the ARAID foundation.

OBJECTIVES

The objective of this research group is to contribute to the development of sustainable fruticulture facing the current production challenges by generating improved genetic material, more efficient technologies, and information that allows increased competitiveness and sustainability of the fruit sector in general and of Aragon´s fruit growing sector in particular.

The increased vulnerability of fruit trees from climate change, the threat of new pests and diseases along with new social demands have made necessary to look for solutions to these issues. It is indispensable to have a good understanding of vegetative and reproductive material and their variability in order to provide solutions that respond to current and future challenges./p>

The development, by breeding, of new plant materials which respond to the demands of the constantly renewing sector starts with the characterization and conservation of the genetic resources and the study of its diversity for characters of interest. To implement efficient variety and rootstock breeding programs it is essential to acquire knowledge of the genetic and molecular base of the characters of agronomic interest, allowing methods of early selection. The use of biotechnological and genetic tools is essential in this endeavor. To achieve higher quality fruit, better post-harvest properties and production optimization, the knowledge of the physiological processes implicated in the behavior and adaption of the plant are fundamental. These processes include the interaction of the rootstock with the graft varieties, the biological reproductive potential, fruit development, resistance to diseases and responses to environmental stress factors. Research programs, which support the assurance of profitability of such a strategic sector as the fruticulture sector, are fundamental to compete in a sustainable and efficient manner in current markets.

Gobierno de Aragón

CITA

EEAD-CSIC

ARAID