Lead researcher: 
Mª J. Rubio Cabetas
130.000 €

This project is the continuation of previous ones of a long tradition in the CITA. Its main aim is the release of new almond cultivars and rootstocks. This proposal stresses the study of the molecular bases of many aspects for breeding of both cultivars and rootstocks in order to select new plant material with excellent agronomical performance to fulfil the demands of the almond industry.

Breeding self-compatible and extra-late blooming cultivars will remain as a main objective, complemented with the study for the first time of frost tolerance through the study of several plastid genes since chloroplast genome acts as a sensor for environmental stresses. This objective will be complemented with the selection of thousands of seedlings that have been obtained by the CITA and the now under different evaluation steps and will help to create new crosses for new progenies of late flowering and freeze tolerance.

Marker assisted selection by molecular markers linked to the loci S and Lb will be applied. Additionally, new generation sequencing (NGS) and bioinformatics tools will be applied to accelerate the selection of thousand of seedling obtained during the last years, using genetic tools to identify genes and/or QTLS linked to kernel quality almond and ripening time in order of selecting new productive cultivars with a kernel chemical composition fulfilling the requirements of an excellent organoleptic, commercial, industrial and healthy quality.

The study of the molecular basis involved in the tolerance of rootstocks to two environmental stresses affecting almond growing, such as the water logging and drought will be continued, looking for candidate genes and proteins involved in the response to environmental stresses in order to expand almond growing in new regions with heavy soils, arid conditions or reduced water availability. Several molecular strategies and physiological parameters will be applied to study the vigour induced by the root.

This proposal will continue the study of traits encoded in the root system, as well as selecting new plant material with more resilience to the climatic change. We will study for the first time the phenology and the rootstock-scion interaction in different climatic scenarios for selecting new low-vigour rootstocks to satisfy the mechanical harvest and with a better adaptation to temperate and arid conditions of the Mediterranean region.

We will study the agronomical behaviour of the preselected rootstocks and cultivars monitoring physiological parameters, including kernel production and others production aspects for mechanical harvest.

Project members: 
Mª Ángeles Sanz, J.M. Alonso, G. Estopañán, B. Bielsa, A. Fernández y Mª T. Espiau (CITA), J.J. Escartín (CTA-DGA), J. García Brunton e I. Padial (IMIDA), A. Dhingra (Washington State University), M. G. Wirthensohn (Universiy of Adelaide)