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The Citrus Genome

Alessandra GentileDepartment of Agriculture, Food and Environment University of Catania, Catania, Italy. 
Stefano La Malfa.  Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment University of Catania, Catania, Italy. 

Citrus species are among the world’s most widely grown commercial crops with hundreds of cultivated varieties, some of which with exclusively local importance. Citrus breeding programs concern different species and hybrids, also triploids, such in the case of the development of new mandarins and mandarin-like varieties and, on a smaller scale, the development of new grapefruit-like cultivars with unique fruit-quality traits and the creation of seedlessness. An increasing interest is paid also to the qualitative traits of the fruit and to its nutraceutical properties. So in Italy, and more recently in other citrus regions, the development of new pigmented genotypes, among oranges and mandarin hybrids is a high priority goal of breeding programs. The interest for lemon breeding is currently poor since there are no active large-scale conventional breeding projects. However, in some countries like Italy, Turkey, Greece, the development of new varieties resistant to mal secco disease is of pivotal importance. In Citrus, conventional breeding is hampered by several reproductive biological features, including apomixis, male and female partial sterility, cross- and self-incompatibility, high level of heterozygosity and long juvenile period. However many breeding programs are currently developed in most of the citrus producing countries in order to face different problems and to release novel varieties to accomplish the consumer request. Both conventional and molecular breeding approaches are used with an increasing importance paid to the use of biotechnological tools for marker-assisted selection and for gene function discovery in order to speed up the obtainment of new varieties. In the present contribution, we will discuss the most important achievements for citrus varieties genetic improvement, describing traditional and innovative approaches, and the main results so far achieved for important traits.

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Conventional Breeding of Cultivated Citrus Varieties

Alessandra GentileDepartment of Agriculture, Food and Environment University of Catania, Catania, Italy. 
Stefano La Malfa.  Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment University of Catania, Catania, Italy. 

Conventional Breeding of Cultivated Citrus Varieties

Citrus species are among the world’s most widely grown commercial crops with hundreds of cultivated varieties, some of which with exclusively local importance. Citrus breeding programs concern different species and hybrids, also triploids, such in the case of the development of new mandarins and mandarin-like varieties and, on a smaller scale, the development of new grapefruit-like cultivars with unique fruit-quality traits and the creation of seedlessness. An increasing interest is paid also to the qualitative traits of the fruit and to its nutraceutical properties. So in Italy, and more recently in other citrus regions, the development of new pigmented genotypes, among oranges and mandarin hybrids is a high priority goal of breeding programs. The interest for lemon breeding is currently poor since there are no active large-scale conventional breeding projects. However, in some countries like Italy, Turkey, Greece, the development of new varieties resistant to mal secco disease is of pivotal importance. In Citrus, conventional breeding is hampered by several reproductive biological features, including apomixis, male and female partial sterility, cross- and self-incompatibility, high level of heterozygosity and long juvenile period. However many breeding programs are currently developed in most of the citrus producing countries in order to face different problems and to release novel varieties to accomplish the consumer request. Both conventional and molecular breeding approaches are used with an increasing importance paid to the use of biotechnological tools for marker-assisted selection and for gene function discovery in order to speed up the obtainment of new varieties. In the present contribution, we will discuss the most important achievements for citrus varieties genetic improvement, describing traditional and innovative approaches, and the main results so far achieved for important traits.

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