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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 976: XIII Eucarpia Symposium on Fruit Breeding and Genetics

THE APPLE BREEDING PROGRAM AT THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Author:   F. Shan
Keywords:   'Pink Lady', 'Sundowner', 'Enchanted', apple quality, sensory evaluation, non-browning, industry involvement
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2013.976.3
Abstract:
It has been 40 years since the start of apple breeding in Western Australia in 1972, which was called the Australian National Apple Breeding Program (ANABP) since 1989. The breeding objective is to produce novel apple cultivars and maximize their benefit to the Australian apple industry. Quality is the priority. New cultivars need to have a long storage life and be suitable for production in Australian environments with long hot and dry summers and mild winters. The ANABP is a conventional breeding program using sexual hybridisation to generate hybrid seeds. The hybrids go through a series of rigorous assessments, namely Stage 1 to Stage 3, which along with the crossing constitutes the ANABP breeding process. The evaluation in these stages aims both to describe a potential cultivar’s characteristics and points of differentiation, and to ensure that it performs against a range of quality standards. Selections whose performance and specific characteristics are considered to offer an opportunity for the Australian apple industry are then recommended as Commercial Candidates for release. Stage 4, is commercialisation, involving the strategic release and commercial development of a new cultivar. Up until 2010, a total of 311 cross combinations have been made and 166,156 seedlings planted in the field. Cultivars released have included the globally successful ‘Cripps Pink’ better recognised by Pink Lady®, under which fruits of the cultivar ‘Cripps Pink’ which meet specifications can be traded. Other released cultivars included its sibling ‘Cripps Red’, known as Sundowner® for the fruits of ‘Cripps Red’ of an appropriate quality, and a non-browning cultivar ‘Western Dawn’, fruit of which that meet specification is marketed under the trade mark Enchanted®. A dark-red apple, ‘ANABP 01’ will be the next release. There are many advanced and several superior selections which are still under assessment at various stages.

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