INRAE & NOVADI collaboration: a partnership always at the forefront of new apple cultivars breeding

D. Ray, C. Auvinet, F. Lebreton, C. Pitiot, A. Petiteau, B. Petit, F. Laurens
Agricultural production losses due to pests and diseases account for nearly 40% of world food production. In apple, all major commercial cultivars are susceptible to one fungal disease: scab. To address this issue, INRAE and NOVADI have jointly developed a breeding program in which each organization provides its expertise: pre-breeding handled by INRAE, followed by selection and management of cultivars by NOVADI. This collaboration of more than 30 years between a public institute and a private company favours interactions, as well as skills and knowledge transfer to the profession. Our co-program focuses on improving agronomic, organoleptic and commercial qualities, with a strong emphasis on resistance to pests and diseases such as scab, powdery mildew, fire blight, aphid and European canker. After several years of phenotyping prospective crosses, we have built a solid database of our different selection characteristics. Thereafter, we have continued to optimize our selection procedure thanks to the contribution of apple genome sequencing, evolution of genotyping techniques or availability of new genetic markers, such as SNPs. Nowadays, we work on a two-level strategy: 1) pedigree analysis of progenitors to provide genetic information complementary to phenotyping, and 2) routine application of marker-assisted breeding (MAB) to increase the efficiency of resistance gene accumulation. Afterwards, each cultivar must fit into the world apple landscape. To this end, NOVADI has developed strategic relationships to test and select hybrids adapted to various pedo-climatic conditions. Several of our novelties are significantly established in the market, proof of the adequacy between relevance of the cultivars and needs of the sector. Resilience of these new cultivars, particularly in the face of climate change, is now a major challenge for which our partnership shall demonstrate its effectiveness. MAB could prove to be an important tool to quickly identify selections that meet this global issue.
Ray, D., Auvinet, C., Lebreton, F., Pitiot, C., Petiteau, A., Petit, B. and Laurens, F. (2023). INRAE & NOVADI collaboration: a partnership always at the forefront of new apple cultivars breeding. Acta Hortic. 1362, 563-570
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2023.1362.76
breeding program, apple, public-private collaboration, durable production, phenotyping, genotyping, resistance, MAS

Acta Horticulturae