Genetic study aims to find firm fruit key

Researchers at the James Hutton Institute (JHI) near Dundee are unravelling the genetic basis of firmness in soft fruit, with the aim of breeding berries with improved handling properties and shelf life.

The three-year HortLINK project (SF 106), which is backed by the Horticultural Development Company, runs until June 2012.

Both a "texture analyser" and human expertise are being used to assess softening of laboratory samples and commercial varieties under a range of conditions, then correlated with a number of candidate genes.

Writing in HDC News, JHI geneticist Julie Graham said the team was now investigating how those genes are associated with different stages of ripening.

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