Apple genome breakthrough will inform targeted breeding

A new apple genome sequence, published this week, will enable faster and more targeted breeding of new varieties with increased disease resistance and better fruit quality, researchers claim.

Image: Arend Jan Wonink (CC BY 2.0)
Image: Arend Jan Wonink (CC BY 2.0)

The sequence, based on the Golden Delicious variety, was assembled by an international consortium of research institutions from France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and South Africa, using latest sequencing technologies, and funded by the EU and national agencies.

Erik Toussaint, communications manager at one of the partner institutions, Wageningen Unviersity & Research, said: "We will use the new insights in the DNA of the apple in the targeted breeding of new varieties.

"This will make it easier to develop new apple varieties with resistance against apple scab, which need less fungicides and are thus more sustainable. It will also make it easier to develop new apple varieties that can be eaten by people with a mild apple allergy."

The Wageningen-bred Santana variety can already be consumed by most individuals with a mild apple allergy, while it and the more recently released Natyra are suitable for organic production due to their high disease resistance.

The results are published in Nature Genetics.


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