Improvement of Tropical and Subtropical Fruit Trees through Induced Mutations and Biotechnology


The main objective is to generate and characterise radiation induced diversity in tropical and subtropical fruit trees improving nutritional balance, food security and enhancing economic status of growers in Member States.


The main objective will addressed by solving specific research goals, which are: a) to overcome major constraints in plant regeneration by tissue culture for large-scale multiplication of desirable induced mutants in order to sustain natural and induced fruit tree biodiversity leading to improved economic viability of growers and the nutritional component of their diets; b) to assess the impact of induced mutants on fruit yield and quality components, depending on the fruit tree life cycle, under field conditions; c) to assess root stocks of induced mutants, especially those tolerant to abiotic and biotic stresses, for grafting and their impact on yield. This CRP will meet the need to close the gap between limited mutant resources and the full range of phenotypes essential to fully exploit tropical and subtropical tree crops.

It will also increase food and economic security by ensuring sustainable crop production and increasing yield and quality. Potential fruit crops to be included : Citrus spp (as a model fruit crop), mango, datepalm, coconut, cashew, avocado, papaya, passionfruit, jujube, guava, anona, lychee. Expected research outputs: Output A - Establishment of gene banks and field collections with induced mutants to preserve genetic diversity for future uses in fruit tree improvement and molecular biological studies; transfer of technologies (induced mutations and in vitro culture, molecular characterisation and cloning of mutated genes) between partner laboratories; a comprehensive, informative, up-to-date central data base including all the CRP generated data; an informative and interactive webpage describing the participants and the research program highlighting the assembled database. Output B: generation of economically important mutations for crop improvement, clonal propagation and field evaluation of mutants that exhibit desirable traits such as disease resistance, seedlessness, long shelf-life, resistance to abiotic stresses; association of mutated genes with individual large DNA fragments; initiation of cloning and sequencing of the mutated genes; identification of homology between these mutations and known genes in major crops or model species, development of tissue culture protocols such as somatic embryogenesis for plant regeneration from recalcitrant fruit species.


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  • Report of First RCM, Vienna, Austria, 25-29 September 2000. pp 1-89. IAEA-312.D2.RC.823 (2001).

Project Officer:

M.M. Spencer