Genetic breakthrough may lead to new kiwifruit varieties

August 1st, 2008 - 1:59 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Aug 1 (ANI): Kiwifruit lovers would soon be savouring some new varieties for researchers have uncovered different gene sequences, which fruit breeders think would make for fruits with more health benefits, exciting colours and flavours.

The research team from New Zealand-based fruit science company HortResearch and biotech company Genesis Research and Development Corporation Limited has found over 130,000 kiwifruit gene sequences - referred to as expressed sequence tags (ESTs).

These are DNA sequences from active genes in the plant that govern characteristics as flavour, colour, shape, vitamin content and aspects of fruit development such as ripening and storage life.

The kiwifruit ESTs identified over an eight-year period would be used by the companys breeders to develop into new kiwifruit varieties, through a technique known as Marker Assisted Selection (MAS), according to HortResearch scientist Dr William Laing

In a MAS breeding programme, breeders use traditional crossing techniques to breed new varieties.

The genus Actinidia, to which all kiwifruit belong, is incredibly diverse and contains many colours, shapes, flavours and other attributes beyond the two most prominent industry cultivars, the green-fleshed Hayward and yellow-fleshed Hort16A (better known as ZESPRI GOLD Kiwifruit), said Laing.

The study on Kiwifruit ESTs was published today by US-based peer-reviewed journal BMC Genomics. (ANI)

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