Disease resistance is an objective of most breeding programs for small fruits, tree fruits, and nuts. Often a moderate level of resistance is adequate, and must be combined with many other desirable horticultural characteristics. Classical methods (a segregating population of the host plant is inoculated with a virulent isolate of the pathogen under environmental conditions appropriate for disease development) have been used with great success and have incorporated both horizontal and vertical resistance. Molecular approaches offer new opportunities and are likely to be appropriate and cost-effective in a few situations. Transformation is not yet routine in fruit and nut crops, and there is a shortage of useful genes. Genetic maps are being constructed using RFLP and RAPD markers in several species, allowing determination of number and location of important genes as well as indirect selection based on linked markers. This presentation will include examples of both classical and molecular approaches as they are used in the genetic improvement of fruit and nut crops with an emphasis on fungal and bacterial diseases.
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