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Breeding & Genomics

Plant & Food Research combines traditional breeding with modern genomics techniques to develop better cultivars, faster.

Breeding & Genomics targets:

  • New markers, genomics and breeding tools to get cultivars to market quicker
  • Design and development of cultivars in response to international consumer drivers
  • Cultivars and propagation systems developed for better adaptation to climatic change
  • New cultivars resistant to key pests and diseases
  • New cultivars with human health attributes
  • Novel fruits, vegetables and grains

Plant & Food Research is known worldwide for innovation in plant breeding. Products such as the JAZZ™ brand apple, ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit, Karaka Black blackberry and Golden Delight potato have afforded us a reputation for developing new and novel produce that deliver a premium consumer experience.

Plant & Food Research has extensive experience in breeding new fruits, vegetables, arable and ornamental crops with novel characteristics that appeal to the consumer, such as flavour, texture, colour and shape, or producer, including higher yield, pest and disease resistance, seasonality and storage potential.

We use conventional breeding techniques to create new cultivars, using our knowledge of the genetics of key traits to inform the breeding process. Our extensive germplasm collection provides us with a wide range of genetic diversity that can be included in our breeding programmes. We undertake genetic screening for parent plants that offer the best chance of producing offspring with desired traits. Our genomics researchers identify and isolate new genes, allowing our breeding team to screen for these genes and narrow the search for parents with the ideal genetic traits. We also screen offspring and isolate those plants with the most promising genetic potential for further breeding or commercial success, reducing the number and increasing the quality of selections entering assessment trials.

Research conducted in our Food Innovation portfolio helps our breeders to determine which cultivars offer the tastes, textures and other characteristics valued by consumers. Research from our Bioprotection and Food Innovation portfolios also provides gene marker data for our germplasm and seedling screening programmes.

 

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