Study taps into genetics to create the perfect peach

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Study taps into genetics to create the perfect peach

Scientists at the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA) and the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG), in Spain, are looking at genetics to perfect peach breeding.

The study, published in January in Horticulture Research journal, creates large-scale gene co-expression networks (GCNs) that predict gene functions and streamline the peach breeding process. 

This innovative approach addresses the complex task of identifying genes linked to desirable breeding traits in peaches.

The research offers breeders a powerful tool and insight to enhance peach varieties by decoding gene functions. With this, the study could potentially drive advancements in key quality aspects such as flavor, longevity, and nutrition of peaches.

Related articles: Georgia peach growers hopeful for rebound after disastrous 2023 season

Global crop outlook

World peach and nectarine production rose more than 20% from 19.6 million tons to 24.2 million in 2022-23, according to USDA data.

On the surface, this appears to be a growth industry. However, more countries have declined in production than grown since 2013-14, including declines in the European Union and the United States, both of which are considered to be among the top five producers.

Declining acreage in China could mark the start of an easing of global peach output in the not-too-distant future. Without China’s gains during the past decade, global production would have fallen by over 500,000 tons. 

Although Turkey and Chile have increased output and boosted world exports, their production growth has been at a much slower pace. 

While global exports plateaued in the past two years, it remains to be seen if Turkey and Chile will be able to continue providing sufficient supplies to counter future reductions in output among other leading exporters.

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