|Author: ||J. Janick|
|Keywords: ||apple scab, fruit breeding, Malus x domestica, Malus floribunda, Venturia inaequalis|
The PRI cooperative scab-resistant apple breeding program between Purdue University, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and the University of Illinois, has a long and interesting history involving many scientists and collaborators.
The program can be traced to breeding studies of C.S. Crandall at the University of Illinois carried out early in the 20th century involving intensive studies of crosses between cultivated apples and crab apples.
Segregation for scab resistance in material left by Crandall was noted by L. Fredric Hough, then a graduate student at Illinois, in 1943. His paper published in 1944, led to a formal collaboration in 1945 between J. Ralph Shay, a young pathologist at Purdue University and Hough.
When Hough moved to Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, the collaborative effort was extended there.
Key personnel subsequently included E.B. Williams of Purdue University and D.F. Dayton of the University of Illinois.
The goals of the program were the genetic improvement of apple and an elucidation of the genetics of resistance.
The breeding strategy consisted of a modified backcross program with the entire spectrum of susceptible cultivars serving as recurrent parents.
Several Malus species were used to incorporate their resistance factors into more advanced pomological backgrounds.
By 2000, a total of 18 scab-resistant cultivars containing the Vf gene derived from Malus floribunda 821, were released by PRI alone or jointly with others and about 50 cultivars derived from PRI germplasm have been released by breeders world wide.
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