Australia: Integrating new technologies into berry breeding

Consumers may be able to enjoy a broader selection of berries following the research of Nuffield Scholar and horticulturist Karen Brock, who aimed to find ways to assist Australian plant breeders take new berry varieties to market more quickly.

Ms Brock received a Nuffield Scholarship to investigate how traditional breeding programs can integrate new technologies to reduce the time taken from experimentation through to commercial release of new berry varieties.

Together with her family, Ms Brock owns Brocklands, a diversified horticultural business, in Tasmania’s north-east, supplying plants and tissue culture material to the soft berry fruit and truffle industries.

As part of her scholarship, Ms Brock travelled around the world to seek out the latest in scientific studies and certification schemes being used to manage new berry varieties, with visits to the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand and Europe.

Ms Brock said her research found the development of gene technologies would both challenge and build upon decade-long propagation techniques for berries, which have traditionally included cuttings, seed germination, grafting and budding to rootstocks.

Read more at the Riverine Herald

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