Felicidad Fernández

Research Leader, Plant Breeder and Molecular Geneticist
Department:Genetics, Genomics & Breeding
Tel:+44 (0)1732 843833
DD:+44 (0)1732 523739
Fax:+44 (0)1732 849067

Research Interests

I am responsible for the tree fruit and raspberry improvement programmes at EMR and manage the commercially-funded EM Rootstock Club (EMRC) and the EM Cherry Group (EMCG). My research interests include the development of molecular markers in rosaceous fruit crops and their deployment for germplam characterisation and identification. I am particularly interested in the identification of markers associated with agronomically-important traits such as pest and disease resistances and fruit quality as tools for Marker Assisted Breeding (MAB). I have a keen interest in novel/minor fruit crops and I have written a Nuffield Report about the potential of these crops for diversification of the UK fruit industry.


A breeder’s vision of the perfect raspberry

How I became a raspberry breeder at East Malling



Selected Publications

  • Harrison N., Harrison R.J., Barber-Perez N., Cascant-Lopez E., Cobo-Medina M., Lipska M., Conde-Ruiz R., Brain P., Gregory P.J. and Fernandez-Fernandez F. . (2016). A new three-locus model for rootstock-induced dwarfing in apple revealed by genetic mapping of root bark percentage J. Exp. Bot. 67(6). 1871-81.
  • Buti M, Poles L, Caset D, Magnago P, Fernández Fernández F, Colgan RJ, Velasco R, Sargent DJ. (2015). Identification and validation of a QTL influencing bitter pit symptoms in apple (Malus pumila) Molecular Breeding 35 (1):29.
  • Fernández-Fernández F, Padmarasu S, Šurbanovski N, Evans KM, Tobutt KR, Sargent DJ. (2014). Characterisation of the virescent locus controlling a recessive phenotype in apple rootstocks (Malus pumila Mill.) Molecular Breeding 33 (2). 373-383 DOI:10.1007/s11032-013-9956-3 .
  • Bink MCAM, Jansen J, Madduri M, Voorrips RE, Durel C-E, Kouassi AB, Laurens F, Mathis F, Gessler C, Davide P, Rezzonico F, Patocchi A, Kellerhals M, Boudichevskaja K, Dunemann F, Peil A, Nowicka A, Lata B, Stankiewicz-Kosyl M, Jeziorek K, Pitera E, Soska A, Tomala K, Evans KM, Fernández- Fernández F, Guerra W, Korbin M, Kelle S, Lewandowski M, PlocharskiW, Rutkowski K, Zurawicz E, Costa F, Sansavinni S, Tartarini S, Komjanc M, Mott D, Antofie A, Lateur M, Rondia A, Gianfranceschi L, and van de Weg WE . (2014). Bayesian QTL analyses using pedigreed families of an outcrossing species, with application to fruit firmness in apple.  Theoretical and Applied Genetics . DOI 10.1007/s00122-014-2281-3.
  • Ward JA, Bhangoo J, Fernández-Fernández F, Moore P, Swanson JD, Viola R, Velasco R, Bassil N, Weber CA, Sargent DJ. (2013). Saturated linkage map construction in Rubus idaeus using genotyping by sequencing and genome-independent imputation.  BMC genomics 14. 2.
  • Troggio M, Šurbanovski N, Bianco L, Moretto M, Giongo L, Viola R, Fernández Fernández F, Costa F, Velasco R, Cestaro A, Sargent DJ . (2013). Evaluation of SNP Data from the Malus Infinium Array Identifies Challenges for Genetic Analysis of Complex Genomes of Polyploid Origin.  PLoS ONE 8(6). e67407. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067407.
  • Gregory, P.J., Atkinson, C.J., Bengough, A.G., Else, M.A., Fernández-Fernández, F., Harrison, R.J. and Schmidt, S. (2013). Contributions of roots and rootstocks to sustainable, intensified crop production J Exp Bot. 64. 1209-1222.
  • Antanaviciute L, Fernández-Fernández F, Banchi E, Evans KM, Velasco R, Dunwell JM, Troggio M, Sargent DJ. (2012). An evaluation of the Malus Infinium whole genome genotyping array in an apple rootstock mapping progeny.  BMC genomics 13. 203.
  • Bai T, Zhu Y, Fernández-Fernández F, Keulemans J, Brown S, Xu K. (2012). Fine genetic mapping of the Co locus controlling columnar growth habit in apple.  Molecular Genetics and Genomics. 287 (5). 437–450.
  • Sehic J, Garkava-Gustavsson L, Fernández-Fernández F, Nybom H . (2012). Genetic diversity in a collection of European pear (Pyrus communis) cultivars determined with SSR markers chosen by ECPGR.  Scientia Horticulturae 145. 39-45.
  • Laima Antanaviciute, Felicidad Fernández-Fernández, Johannes Jansen, Elisa Banchi, Katherine M Evans, Roberto Viola, Riccardo Velasco, Jim M Dunwell, Michela Troggio and Daniel J Sargent . (2012). Development of a dense SNP-based linkage map of an apple rootstock progeny using the Malus Infinium whole genome genotyping array. BMC Genomics 13. 203 doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-203.
  • F. Fernández-Fernández, L. Antanaviciute, M. M. van Dyk, K. R. Tobutt, K. M. Evans, D. J. G. Rees, J. M. Dunwell and D. J. Sargent. (2012). A genetic linkage map of an apple rootstock progeny anchored to the Malus genome sequence. Tree Genetics & Genomes October 2012, Volume 8, Issue 5,. 991-1002 .
  • Evans KM, Patocchi A, Rezzonico F, Mathis F, Durel CE, Fernández-Fernández F, Boudichevskaia A, Dunemann F, Stankiewicz-Kosyl M, Gianfranceschi L, Komjanc M, Lateur M, Madduri M, Noordijk Y, van de Weg WE. (2011). Genotyping of pedigreed apple breeding material with a genome-covering set of SSRs: trueness to type of cultivars and their parentages. Molecular Breeding 28. 535–547 .
  • F. Fernández-Fernández, L. Antanaviciute, C.L. Govan and D.J. Sargent . (2011). Development of a multiplexed microsatellite set for fingerprinting red raspberry (Rubus idaeus) germplasm and its transferability to other Rubus species. Journal of Berry Research 1 (4). 177 -187.
  • Castillo NRF, Reed BM, Graham J, Fernández-Fernández F, Bassil NV . (2010). Microsatellite markers for raspberries and blackberries.  Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science 135. 271–278.
  • Sargent, D.J., Fernadéz-Fernandéz, F. Ruiz-Roja, J.J., Sutherland, B.G., Passey, A. Whitehouse, A.B. & Simpson, D.W. (2009). A genetic linkage map of the cultivated strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa) progeny segregating for resistance to Verticillium dahliae, and its comparison to the diploid Fragaria reference map. Molecular Breeding 24(3). 293-303.
  • Sargent DJ, Marchese A, Simpson, DW, Howard W, Fernández-Fernández F, Monfort A, Arús P, Evans KM, Tobutt KR . (2009). Development of ‘universal’ gene-specific markers from Malus pumilla cDNA sequences, their mapping and use in synteny studies within Rosaceae.  Tree Genetics and Genomes 5. 133-145.
  • Patocchi A, Fernández-Fernández F, Evans K, Gobbin D, Rezzonico F, Boudichevskaja A, Dunemann F, Stankiewicz-Kosyl M, Mathis-Jeanneteau F, Durel CE, Gianfranceschi L, Costa F, Toller C, Cova V, Mott D, Komjanc M, Barbaro E, Kodde LP, Rikkerink E, Gessler C Van de Weg WE. (2009). Development and test of 21 multiplex PCRs composed of SSRs spanning most of the apple genome.  Tree Genetics and Genomes 5. 211-223.
  • Kouassi AB, Durel CE., Costa F, Tartarini S., Van De Weg WE, Evans KM., Fernández-Fernández F, Govan C, Boudichevskaia A, Dunemann F, Antofie A, Lateur M, Stankiewicz-Kosyl M, Soska A., Tomala K, Lewandowski M, Rutkovski K, Zurawicz E, Guerra W, Laurens F. (2009). Estimation of genetic parameters and prediction of breeding values for apple fruit quality traits using pedigreed plant material in Europe.  Tree Genetics and Genomes 5. 659–672.
  • Evans KM, Govan CL, Fernández- Fernández F. (2008). A new gene for resistance to Dysaphis pyri in pear and identification of flanking microsatellite markers. Genome 51. 1026-1031.
  • Fernández-Fernández F, Evans KM, Clarke JB, Govan CL, James CM, Marić S, Tobutt KR . (2008). Development of an STS map of an interspecific progeny of Malus.  Tree Genetics and Genomes 4: . 469-479.
  • Sargent DJ , Fernández-Fernández F, Rys A, Knight VH, Simpson DW, Tobutt KR. (2007). Mapping of A1 conferring resistance to the aphid Amphorophora idaei and dw (dwarfing habit) in red raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) using AFLP and Microsatellite markers.  BMC Plant Biology 7. 15.
  • Fernández-Fernández F, Harvey, NG, James, CM.. (2006). Isolation and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite markers from European pear (Pyrus communis L.).  Molecular Ecology Notes 6: . 1039-1041 .