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Safj Sa Fruit Journal Sati New Breeding Technologies Featured
December 2023 / January 2024

NEW BREEDING TECHNOLOGIES in cultivar development

SA Fruit Journal: December 2023 / January 2024

CRISPR-based genome editing is now possible in fruit trees, including grapevine. By Manuela Campa and Justin Lashbrooke (Stellenbosch University)

With CRISPR-based (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) genome editing now possible in grapevine, there are new opportunities for improving resistance to pests and diseases, or to improve the plant’s ability to cope with climate change and abiotic stresses.

There is a need to breed crops that are better adapted to the changing climate, and that require fewer chemical inputs while increasing productivity, quality, and sustainability. In fruit trees such as grapevine, breeding has been performed by making crosses and in recent times, DNA markers have been used for marker-assisted selection.

In fruit tree crops and grapevine this process requires several years to produce tangible outputs, making it a very demanding process in terms of both time and space. As a result, there is growing interest in exploring so-called “new breeding technologies” (or NBTs) that can accelerate the process and improve breeding efficiency.

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