The Institute of Subtropical and Mediterranean Horticulture (IHSM) La Mayora has conducted a study that may entail great progress in the obtaining of new avocado varieties, almost halving the necessary period to achieve this.
La Mayora's contribution to the scientific community involves a greater knowledge of the sequencing of the Hass avocado genome. This may facilitate the development of new varieties, better adapted to the new challenges ahead, including climate change, given the current absence or scarcity of molecular resources and phenotypic data, and the limited genetic set in breeding programs worldwide.
The work has been carried out by the IHSM La Mayora research group, formed by Alicia Televera, Aboozar Soorni, Aureliano Bombarely, Antonio Matas and Iñaki Hormaza, and has been published in the international scientific journal Scientific Reports. "What we have done in this work is to sequence the genome of the Hass variety and analyze the DNA of 71 varieties of the three botanical types of avocado (Mexican, Guatemalan and Antillean), of which we have performance data in the field. The idea was to find differences with the Hass and develop tools to make an early selection based on DNA. For now, we have generated more than 7,000 different DNA markers, which has allowed us to study the genetic diversity of the varieties analyzed in detail," said Hormaza.
La Mayora's scientific contribution could accelerate the obtaining of new varieties that may be of commercial interest and, therefore, promote the diversification of the fruit's production. "We now have the markers, but we need to associate them with the characters of interest. Once those are available, the process should be shortened by a minimum of 50%," said Hormaza.