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New GM Chilean apple will be "liberated" in 2017"This variety has many advantages, for Chile´s conditons," says Paul Grau, director of the project "the establishment of a genetically improved breeding program for high quality and disease resistance fruit," which would create a new variety of "Chilean apple" and if its positive results continue would be released in 2017.
The main objective of the project is to improve the quality of the fruit and the second one is the resistance towards the Venturia disease. The initiative is implemented by the Institute of Agricultural Research, INIA, of Quilamapu. The co-executor institution is the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, which is involved in the evaluation of the fruit at harvest and postharvest, and is funded by Innova Chile of CORFO and the Horticultural Industry Consortium, which brings together the most important exporters of Chile.
The project began in February 2009 and will end as such in January 2014, although the researcher clarifies that it will continue, as "Genetic improvement work never ends."
The new "Chilean apple" will meet all the conditions of adaptation, taste, color and form required by the international markets as well as reduced sensitivity to postharvest disorders, essential attributes that a fruit produced in our country
must meet, because it will be sent to foreign markets. "This attribute, generally is not required for a variety of apple in breeding programs in developed countries, because the time between harvest and consumption is substantially less than ours," he said.
For apples, today we count with advanced lines in seven localities in the south, but none to be released yet. "An evaluation program at this advanced selection stage generally takes 4 to 5 years in the field. Presumably, if something comes out of this material, in 2016 or 2017 we could have a new Chilean variety."
If so, Chile could then sell the license to other countries and continue their scientific research, from there forth, release new varieties. "It's the first time that genetic improvement is done in Chile, everything that has been grown so far, in any kind of specie, are foreign varieties," he pointed out.
He adds that the variety that would result from this research, will be especially developed for the needs, conditions and climate of Chile, with all the commercial benefits that it entails. The researcher explains that consumer preferences are changing, and that now attractive aspects like color, firmness, juiciness and crunchiness, are essential, so that the Chilean apple will have that and more.
Source: Diario La Discusión
Publication date: 3/2/2012
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