The popularity and demand for avocado (Persea americana) have increased tremendously. Like many other clonal crops, a few varieties and rootstocks dominate the avocado market. Nowadays, avocado trees are conquering new farming areas. However, at the same time, they are facing new threats, such as new pests and changing environmental conditions. The search for clonal rootstocks that can better adapt to the biotic and abiotic stress conditions is one of the challenges.
Avocado Plant Improvement Planning Meeting: Taking advantage of what we learned from Avocado Brainstorming
Drs. Arpaia and Smith organized a meeting to discuss the status of avocado genetics and breeding worldwide which was held in Riverside on January 11 – 12, 2012. This meeting was followed by a grower field day at the University of California South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine.
Development of avocado rootstock varieties resistant to Phytophthora cinnamomi and salinity by the implementation of molecular breeding approaches for genomic selection
The overall goal of this program is to develop and provide elite rootstock material that is highly tolerant to Phytophthora root rot (PRR) and salinity. To address this goal we have divided the program into specific areas: 1) Screening for PRR tolerant rootstock varieties, 2) Screening for rootstock varieties with high tolerance to salinity and understanding PRR x salinity interactions to select for both PRR and salinity tolerant rootstocks, 3) Field testing, 4) Implementation of molecular-assisted breeding, and 5) outreach, education, and commercial release of elite rootstocks.
Use of Simple Sequence Repeats (SSR) to Determine Incidence and Effectiveness of Self and Cross-pollinated Avocado Fruit in Southern California
SSR technology is a powerful tool to determine the pollen parents of avocado progeny of known maternal genetic background. The four SSR markers we have selected for use to determine pollen parents are powerfully informative for the range of cross pollinizing cultivars available in the selected orchards and, therefore, highly capable of discerning the specific pollen parent of each sampled fruit. The cultivars included in the study are Bacon, Ettinger, Fuerte, Harvest, Hass, Lamb Hass, Marvel, Nobel, SirPrize and Zutano.
Ultimately, the control of Phytophthora root rot (PRR) of avocado will be accomplished with resistant rootstocks. Our goal is to find rootstocks that will eliminate Phytophthora cinnamomi as a serious pathogen on avocado. Our ability to find such rootstocks has been enhanced as a result of our breeding blocks where we focus on crossing already resistant rootstocks. Our objectives over the life of this project have been to collect, select, breed and develop avocado germplasm that exhibits resistance to Phytophthora root rot of avocado.
This 3-year project, funded jointly by the UC Discovery Program and the CAC, is approaching the end of its final year. It was designed to identify genetic markers that track the nutritional composition of avocado fruit (“nutritional phenotypes”) for implementation via marker-assisted selection. The discovery of candidate genes and development of SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) markers is complete, though additional markers are expected from
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