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Soft fruit genetics, genomics and phenomics

Photograph of Glen Fyne raspberries bred at the Institute
The results of the research within soft fruit genetics are applied within commercially-funded breeding programmes, for the production of improved cultivars for the UK fruit industry.

Soft fruit genetics research at the James Hutton Institute is focused on a number of key genera:

  • Rubus (raspberries, blackberries and hybrid berries such as `Tayberry’)
  • Ribes (currants and gooseberries).
  • Vaccinium (blueberries)
  • Lonicera (honeyberry)
  • Prunus (cherry)

Research within the fruit group aims to support the soft fruit sector including growers, breeders and ultimately consumers to meet the many current and future challenges in production and qiuality. The main areas of interest include:

  • Linking genotype to phenotype, through the development of genetic linkage maps and association mapping of robust trait data.
  • Marker development and downstream deployment strategies into breeding programmes.
  • Physical mapping (Rubus) and gene discovery/transcriptomics related to key traits for breeding.
  • Fruit quality, especially health-related components and sensory traits, particularly their heritability and genetic control.
  • Investigations of factors linked to environmentally sustainable production, for example, pest and disease resistance, climate adaptation, low input and resilience in germplasm.
  • Utilisation of the extensive genetic resources at the Institute to develop new germplasm aligned with emerging problems and opportunities.
  • Improved and high throughput phenotyping including the use of plant imaging technologies.

The results of the research within soft fruit genetics are applied within commercially-funded breeding programmes, for the production of improved cultivars for the UK fruit industry. The commercial breeding programmes carried out through James Hutton Limited have until recently been based on classical hybridisation and recently the application of marrker-assisted breeding has been used to reduce the time to cultivar production with the key traits of interest. a good example is the cultivar Glen Mor with resistance to raspberry root rot using marker assisted breeding. Outputs are often linked to specific processes, products and markets and several Institute cultivars of blackcurrant, raspberry and blackberry are leaders in their respective sectors. New blueberry cultivars adapted to UK conditions are currently in development. The soft fruit group work extensively with stakeholders to carry out specific research proposals often through Innovate UK to address specific and targetted needs of the sector.

Research

Areas of Interest


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.