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Olive, Fruit and Citrus Crops


Laboratory of Genetic Improvement and Variety Evaluation

Laboratory of Genetic Improvement and Variety Evaluation


The Centre is internationally recognized for the establishment of more than 200 cultivars of stone fruits, pome fruits, citrus fruits (industrial and ornamental), strawberries and raspberries and fruit plant rootstocks. Currently, breeding is carried out using traditional methods, i. e. field-controlled cross-breeding, using the large collections available in the Centre. Besides, this activity is carried out setting different objectives according to the species concerned, which aim in particular to obtain new “Made in Italy” cultivars with improved characteristics in terms of rusticity, adaptability and quality of the fruit (aesthetic, organoleptic, nutraceutical and/or commodity-related). The evaluation of the best selections is carried out in the various locations of the Centre in comparison with the current varieties on the market. Whether the evaluation is positive, it is extended to different cultivation environments for a final validation which provides the opportunity to continue with plant variety rights. The producers responsible for the final validation are often involved as co-founders of breeding programmes.

In addition, given the threat of the introduction of alien pathogens through the marketing of ornamental species not included in the current European Directive 2000/29 EC (and Directives 2014/78/EU, 2014/83/EU annexed to the Directive 2000/29/CE), the breeding programme for ornamental citrus fruits aims both at the production of new genotypes and the enhancement of species already in the collection, in order to assess the potential phytosanitary risk.

For over 20 years the Centre has actively collaborated in the Varietal Lists project, financed by MiPAAF until 2013, through which the new varieties of the different stone fruits, pome fruits, citrus fruits and strawberries were evaluated in different growing environments. Therefore, the Centre has expressed an opinion on the territorial adaptability (North, Central and South) and highlighted thepositive and negative features of the new cultivars. Regarding strawberry, varietal evaluation activities coordinated by the Centre, continued on a voluntary basis by several operational units located throughout the country. For peach, apple and pear trees, the Centre is part of the EUFRIN International Network, which involves several European research institutions with the aim of evaluating varietal innovations in multi-site trials distributed throughout Europe.

For more information, please contact:

Giuseppe Russo (Acireale office)

Milena Petriccione (Caserta office)

Gianluca Baruzzi (Forlì office)

Enzo Perri (Rende office)

Ignazio Verde (Rome office)

Page update Laboratory of Genetic Improvement and Variety Evaluation

Last update: 28 Dec 2020

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