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HiDRAS
High-quality disease-resistant apples for a sustainable agriculture

European apple production needs up to 20 fungicide sprays per year to cope with pathogens. All resistant varieties have poor fruit quality so they are not well accepted by growers and consumers. HiDRAS aims at providing tools to combine resistance with fruit quality, leading to the diffusion of new resistant cultivars and to a substantial reduction in fungicide use. In HiDRAS, storability of apple fruit is studied to increase the competitiveness of European apples towards countries in the Southern hemisphere. HiDRAS will provide the identification of alleles and linked genetic markers for the fruit traits that determine the success of a cultivar. Innovative statistic and genetic approaches based on the exploitation of pedigrees of several Western and Eastern European breeding germplasm will be adopted. A well-concerted multidisciplinary approach including apple breeding, genetics, molecular biology, statistics and bioinformatics will ensure the achievement of the results.

Objectives
The objective of the HiDRAS project is to deliver genetic knowledge and tools to improve apple fruit quality. The lack of fruit quality is limiting the diffusion of disease resistant apples, so a global reduction in the use of fungicide is not achieved. This objective will be achieved by:
1) the identification of a wide spectrum of alleles (present in Western and Eastern European germplasm) with the most relevant genes governing essential fruit quality traits
2) the discovery of allele specific molecular markers
3) the identification of candidate genes for some specific traits
4) the demonstration of the power of the developed tools by a case study of Marker Assisted Selection
5) the development of specific software for innovative Pedigree-based QTL analysis in plants
6) the generation of an apple data repository to manage and disseminate the huge amount of data generated.

Progress to Date
A set of almost 200 genotypes has been chosen to be analysed for phenotypic traits and molecular markers with the aim of identifying fruit quality QTLs.
DNA was extracted from young leaves, and was tested for quality and quantity.
New SSR markers are currently under development to integrate with the 150 apple SSRs already available.
Sensorial and descriptive fruit quality traits were collected, and traits concerningshelf-life and storability are under investigation.
New software programs have been developed for testing by partners.
RNA from fruit has been extracted for future microarray generation.
The development of the apple repository has been started.
The website is now online and available.

Classified in FRUIT, CROP PESTS AND DISEASES, BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

Scientist responsible for the project

Dr LUCA GIANFRANCESCHI
via Celoria 26
20133 Milano
Italy - IT

Phone: +39 0250315013
Fax: 39 0250315044
E-mail: luca.gianfranceschi@unimi.it

References

Project ID QLRT-2001-01492
Organisation UNIVERSIT└ DEGLI STUDI DI MILANO
Area 5.1.1
Start date 01 January 2003
Duration (months) 48
Total cost 5 060 305 €
Total EC contribution   3 034 780 €
Status Ongoing
Web address of the project   http://users.unimi.it/hidras/

The partners

  • FEDERAL CENTRE FOR BREEDING RESEARCH ON CULTIVATED PLANTS, Germany - DE
    bafz-al@bafz.de
  • CENTRE DE RECHERCHES AGRONOMIQUES DE GEMBLOUX - MINIST╚RE DES CLASSES MOYENNES ET AGRICULTURE, Belgium - BE
    meeus@cragx.fgov.be
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