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Genomics Opportunities and Breeding Strategies towards Improvement of Climate-smart Traits and Disease Resistance against Pathogens in Sweet Cherry

Antonios Zambounis, Ioannis Ganopoulos, Filippos Aravanopoulos, Zoe Hilioti, Panagiotis Madesis, Athanassios Molassiotis, Athanasios Tsaftaris, Aliki Xanthopoulou



The recent sequencing of many Rosaceaecomplete genomes, including that of sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.), along with the availability of high-throughput resources offers new challenges and opportunities for cherry breeders in the genomic era towards improvement of climate-smart traits and diseases resistance against the main pathogens, which are consistently plagued the crop. Conventional breeding approaches are laborious, time consuming and inefficient to fulfill increasing demands, especially in terms of climate change. The advances both in marker-assisted and genomics-assisted breeding, high-throughput sequencing technologies, and bioinformatics tools should enable the sweet cherry breeding at a faster pace. These genomics technologies will certainly generate a large amount of data and this new knowledge might be efficiently employed in cherry breeding towards the development of varieties with elevated adaptation to climatic challenges. The rapidly accumulating genomic resources will enable the development of molecular markers associated with many important quantitative trait loci, deciphering the genomic variations in various germplasms towards the development of climate smart sweet cherries. Furthermore, an integrated approach based on a full range of -omics sciences and their outcomes would result in the development of efficient genomics-based trait selection and identification of allelic variations involved in flowering time, dormancy and defense reactions against pathogens. Especially climate change alters dramatically the susceptibility of sweet cherry cultivarsto rapidly evolved pathogens, and although the recent advances in genomics resources, there are still only a few reports of genomics applications for diseases resistance evaluation in germplasm collections. In this chapter, we discuss and summarize the advances through genomics-assisted breeding towards improvement of climate-smart traits and diseases resistance in sweet cherry. 

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-97946-5