Good Fruit Grower

June 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 37 of 47

38 JUNE 2016 Good Fruit Grower A team of researchers is hoping to find the next stellar apple variety by matching the DNA fingerprints of consumer pref- erences with the genetics of thousands of seedlings in a test orchard overlooking Lake Ontario in Canada. "If I told you that a certain apple had a certain amount of sugar in it, and three of us tasted it, we might all say, 'That's really sweet,' 'Not so sweet,' or 'I don't taste the sweetness,' because we all respond differently," said Daryl Somers, research director of applied genomics at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in Vineland, Ontario. "If I want to make a sweet apple, I don't necessarily measure the amount of sugar. I mea- sure your reaction for sweetness." A panel of 10 tasters was presented with approximately 80 varieties of apples in the center's sensory laboratory, run by Amy Bowen, research program leader. The tasters described the sensory attributes, allowing Somers and doctoral student Beatrice Amyotte to understand how the apples were perceived and to match those percep- tions with detailed genetic sequencing information for those same apples through a genome-wide association study (GWAS). The study "led us to essentially create new DNA fingerprints for how people perceive apples when they taste," Somers said. "We're connecting our genomics and our DNA sequence information directly to human perception and human sensory analysis. To my knowledge, that's never been done before in apples, and I think you'd be hard-pressed to find it in any edi- ble plant species." The exercise promises to be a boon for apple breeders, because they'll be able to narrow their search for apple varieties that will resonate with consumer preferences. This will ease matchmaking among parent varieties and make better use of the cen- ter's 7-acre test orchard. "It allows you to focus and enrich the population for the higher quality apples that you're looking for," Somers said. In spring 2015, for example, Somers sprouted 15,000 seedlings in a greenhouse. That summer, genomic anal- ysis eliminated 6,000 of the seedlings from consideration. Last fall, a mere 6,400 were budded onto rootstock, boosting the center's trial orchard to nearly 11,000 trees. The planting was more than in any previous year, but it was also a richer, more accurate selection of what might be successful in the marketplace, making for a Breeding for consumer preferences Test orchard plays key role as researchers seek the next great apple variety. by Peter Mitham New Varieties Researcher Daryl Somers has developed a test orchard of approximately 11,000 trees at the Vineland and Innovation Research Centre in Vineland, Ontario. 100% Employee Owned & Operated (800) 653-2216 • ML910-01-129843-7 What Sets OVS Apart? Growers Supplies • Equipment Parts & Service • Full Agronomic Services MacroBins ® • American Made • Easily Cleaned • Can be Sterilized • High Quality Polypropylene • Interlock Stacking • Various Sizes • Vented or Solid VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON AVAILABLE MODELS AND PRICING! Convenient Oregon & Washington Locations Aurora - McMinnville - Medford Pasco - Salem, OR Lynden - Pasco, WA ORDER EARLY! 5% cash discount on orders placed/paid for by cash or check by 7/31

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Good Fruit Grower - June 2016