USING FUNCTIONAL AND APPLIED GENOMICS TO IMPROVE STRESS AND DISEASE RESISTANCE IN FRUIT TREES
Location: Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory: Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement and Protection
Title: Genomics approaches to crop improvement in the Rosaceae
Submitted to: Genomics of the Rosaceae
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: July 15, 2008
Publication Date: May 1, 2009
Citation: Peace, C., Norelli, J.L. 2009. Genomics approaches to crop improvement in the Rosaceae. In: Folta, K.M., Gardiner, S.E., editors. Genomics of the Rosaceae. Springer. p. 19-54.
The potential impact of genomics on the improvement of crops belonging to the Rose plant family (Rosaceae) is enormous. The Rose family includes several important specialty crops, such as temperate tree fruits (i.e. apple, pear, peach, cherry, plum, apricot), berries (i.e. strawberry, raspberry, blackberry), nuts (i.e. almond), cut flowers (i.e. roses) and ornamentals (i.e. flowering trees, shrubs and perennials). Product quality, rather than yield, and sustainability are critical for the profitability of these specialty crops. Therefore, genomic research is often directed toward improved fresh and processed product quality, reduced chemical pesticide use and greater environmental stress tolerance, and decreased labor and energy costs of production. Genomic knowledge can be used for the development of improved cultivars through breeding or genetic engineering, development of new cultural practices, tailoring existing production practices according to genetic categories of cultivars (i.e. diagnostics), and development of new therapeutic agents. The fundamental difference between genetic and genomics approaches is that genomics takes a more holistic approach from the outset, considering the complexities of gene networks and gradually narrowing the focus to specific genetic elements, at which point, genetic approaches can be effectively engaged. Structural, functional, and comparative genomics describe three basic categories of knowledge that researchers gather as they ultimately seek to discover the genetic basis of biological processes and important agronomic traits. Within, and often spanning each of these fields of study, are interconnected technologies and techniques that can be brought to bear in such scientific endeavors, and form an expanding toolkit that the modern Rosaceae genomicist can employ for their fundamental or applied research. Working collaboratively with industry and other scientific disciplines, the opportunity exists to anticipate future needs and, with current genomics capabilities, to pro-actively develop solutions for sustained supply of the many Rosaceae products that improve human health and well-being.