120 Hedrick Hall
The apple breeding program at Cornell is one of the largest fruit breeding programs in the world. My objectives include the development of new superior varieties for the apple industry with unique flavors, exceptional crispness, enhanced storage and shelf life, and the incorporation of resistance to disease and insect pests, and training students in the science of fruit breeding and genetics.
We use both traditional breeding and transgene technology to develop new apple varieties, furthering our knowledge of the genetics of key traits in apples and identifying molecular markers for important characteristics for use in marker-assisted breeding (MAB). We identify outstanding advanced selections for potential variety release, and evaluate populations to study the inheritance of plant form, antioxidants, quality attributes and other characters. Interspecific hybrid populations are providing valuable material to study methylation of genes, as well as offering vast phenotypic diversity for genetic studies.
Emphasis is on producing superior advanced apple selections for commercialization, including novel uses and ornamental types. Growers are updated on the status of the breeding program and issues in intellectual property rights, and are given the opportunity to sample advanced selections at a variety showcase. Trees of advanced selections have been established in grower orchards throughout the state to test their adaptation and potential. This is done in cooperation with Cornell Cooperative Extension. Trials are also being established in other regions of the US and internationally.
Apple breeding and genetic improvement. Integration of genomic tools in the breeding of clonal fruit tree crops such as apple.