THE BRAZILIAN PEAR BREEDING PROGRAM
Pear production in Brazil reached 17,391 tons in 2008, enough to provide for a mere 20% of the local market. The lack of adapted cultivars is a major obstacle to self-sustainable pear production in the country. In 2006, a novel nationwide pear breeding program was initiated, encompassing several research institutions and aiming to develop cultivars adapted to local growth conditions in an attempt to reverse the current pear importer status of Brazil. The program is structured in distinct research lines, including: enlargement of the genetic variation available in germplasm collections; formation and evaluation of segregating populations, hybrids and selections of scion and rootstock materials; network cultivar agricultural evaluations; screening of gamma-irradiated mutants of scion materials; and genetic transformation employing disease resistance genes. The main results obtained so far include: 12 scion populations consisting in a total of approximately 1,000 individuals; 220 rootstock seedlings (Pyrus communis) under mass selection in Pelotas, RS; 200 P. communis seedlings for rootstocks under field selection in Lages, SC; selection of six promising P. communis rootstocks; establishment of a cultivar evaluation network consisting of five cultivars (Abate Fetel, Packhams Triumph, Rocha, Santa Maria and Williams) shared by all evaluation sites, and other five locality-specific cultivars; and 475 putative mutants under field evaluation.
de Oliveira, P.R.D., Ritschel, P.S., Rufato, A.D.R., Fioravanço, J.C., Faoro, I.D., Leite, G.B., Dutra, L.F., Mayer, N.A. and Degenhardt-Goldbach, J. (2011). THE BRAZILIAN PEAR BREEDING PROGRAM. Acta Hortic. 909, 145-151
Pyrus, germplasm, cultivar, selection, mutagenesis, genetic engineering