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.
The general objective of this research group is to contribute to the development of a sustainable fruticulture facing the current production challenges, obtaining new plant materials, implementing technologies, and gathering information that allows us to increase the competitiveness and sustainability of the national fruit sector but also particularly Aragon´s fruit growing sector.
For the development of this general objective, it is indispensable to have a good understanding of vegetative and reproductive material and their variability in order to provide solutions that attempt to tackle current and future challenges.
The breeding development of new plant material which satisfies the demands of the constantly renewing sector starts with the characterization and conservation of the genetic resources, as well as the study of their diversity for traits of interest. To implement efficient variety and rootstock breeding programs, it is essential to acquire knowledge about the genetic basis of the agronomically interesting characters, what will make possible the selection of elite individuals for improving the crop. To obtain fruit with higher quality, better post-harvest properties and an optimized production, it is essential to know the physiological processes involved in the plant behavior and its adaption to the environmental and growing conditions. These processes are related to the biological reproductive potential of the trees, the rootstock and cultivar propagation, and pre- and post-harvest quality of the fruit.
In turn, understanding the adaptation of these physiological processes to the effects of climate change, as well as the assessing the health status of this material, is essential to optimize the production in order to ensure quality fruit, profitability of farms and environmental sustainability. In addition, it is necessary to have an in-depth knowledge of the agri-food products and the establishment of scientific bases for their characterization to obtain quality-differentiated fruits to successfully compete in a sustainable and efficient way in the current markets.