Genetic resources of pome fruits in Iran

From the report «A review of genetic resources of pome fruits in Iran» from Ali Gharaghani, Sahar Solhjoo and Nnadozie Oraguzie, published at Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

 

Iran enjoys a huge diversity of genetic resources of pome fruit including wild species, landraces and commercial cultivars, due largely to the diversity in the agro-ecological landscape.

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Due to minimal selection pressure, these genetic resources are diverse in a wide range of morphological and pomological characters and resistance/tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses. Some of the accessions maintained in the collections could qualify as new scion or rootstock cultivars in their own right, or they could be used as parents in breeding programs to develop new superior cultivars with novel traits.

Protection, preservation and utilization of genetic resources would facilitate development of premium varieties and biotech products that can potentially lead to a change in the food, agricultural, pharmaceutical and chemical industries in Iran. Current paper discusses the distribution, ethnobotany, diversity and utilization of wild and domestic genetic resources of pome fruit species in Iran including:

  • apple (Malus spp.)
  • pear (Pyrus spp.)
  • quince (Cydonia oblonga Mill.)
  • hawthorn (Crataegus spp.)
  • medlar (Mespilus germanica L.) and
  • loquat (Eriobotrya japonica Lindl.),

all of which are members of the Rosaceae family. The goal of this paper is to highlight the importance of Iran as a contributor to the diversity of pome fruit genetic resources in the world.

The authors propose developing a comprehensive and efficient in situ conservation programs as well as updating and enrichment of the existing collections to ensure that these materials are available for use by plant geneticists, allied scientists and breeding programs. The emphasis of evaluation efforts should be on wild types, especially, in sites that are in danger of deterioration.