Emergence of the Pacific Northwest sweet cherry breeding program
The goal of the sweet cherry breeding program at Washington State University is to develop new high quality cultivars with high consumer appeal suitable for production in the Pacific Northwest growing regions of the USA. The breeding program has five main objectives with the ultimate goal being to produce cultivars fitting into distinct target market classes. There are three phases in the program including phase one (making crosses, planting seedlings and evaluating fruit), phase two (evaluating advanced selections on replicated trials on-farm and on-station), and phase three (evaluating elite selections for production and postharvest attributes on grower cooperator trials prior to release). DNA information guides breeding decisions and improves the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of breeding operations. Genetic tests for self (in)compatibility and fruit size are used to select parents with a high probability of producing progeny with desired attributes and for culling inferior seedlings prior to field planting. Bar coding has recently been implemented to improve the accuracy of tree identification and data recording in the laboratory. A strong partnership with the industry ensures continuous funding and provides confidence in new cultivar release and adoption.
Oraguzie, N.C., Watkins, C.S., Chavoshi, M.S. and Peace, C. 2017. Emergence of the Pacific Northwest sweet cherry breeding program. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 1161:73-78
sweet cherry breeding, marker-assisted breeding, marker-assisted seedling selection, bar-coded tree identification, fruit quality evaluation