Genetics, Genomics and Breeding
The GGB programme undertakes a range of basic and translational research. Basic research is currently focused on understanding the genetic basis of the mode of pathogenicity of plant and insect pathogens, and the genetic basis of water use efficiency in herbaceous and woody perennials. Researchers also work to elucidate the genetic variants controlling resilience to a variety of other abiotic and biotic stresses and how these affect yield potential and fruit quality. The GGB programme also aims to improve measurement technologies, utilising a variety of novel techniques such as infrared and hyperspectral imaging, which can improve characterisation of both aboveground and belowground traits. In addition to work on fruit crops, the GGB programme is also undertaking research on host-pathogen interactions on UK native trees, and expanding R & D to novel crops.
The GGB programme is predominantly focused on the genetic improvement of Rosaceous fruit crops and in conjunction with industrial partners manages breeding programmes producing commercially viable cultivars of strawberry, raspberry, cherry and rootstocks for apple and pear. Research skills within the group encompass genetics, molecular biology and bioinformatics. Important research outputs are key molecular markers that facilitate breeding with improved precision and efficiency, thus accelerating the breeding process.
NIAB EMR has introduced hundreds of new varieties - all conveying novelty attributes or benefits to growers and consumers.