Dear RosEXEC members,


My  assignment as part of the White Paper revision group is to suggest possible alternative priorities for addressing the key issues of the US Rosaceae industry.  I have made bulleted suggestions following the KEY issue below, and I would greatly appreciate your input about what I have suggested.  Please send your feedback via email before March 16.

The current Priorities for addressing KEY issues, that need updating, are

1.       Define and exploit the Rosaceae genome

2.       Enhance Rosaceae genomics database resources

3.       Revitalize U.S. Rosaceae breeding programs


·         Current KEY Issues for the U.S. Rosaceae Industry:

1.       Improve fresh and processed fruit quality, shelf life, and safety

2.       Reduce chemical pesticide use

3.       Decrease labor and energy costs of crop production

4.       Develop stress tolerant plants

Note that Jay has suggested revisions to this Key issue in an earlier email including changing the title to read “Ensure sustainability and adaptive agro-ecosystems in response to climate change.


Some suggestions I have for priorities for Rosaceae Genomics addressing the KEY issues are:

·         Facilitate exploitation of existing Rosaceae genomes by

a.       Developing collaborative, cooperative research teams across genera, which will enable more rapid recognition of genes important for each of the key issues that might then be exploited by other members of the Rosaceae.

b.      Cultivating and nourishing collaborations with laboratories already exploring related genes in highly developed model systems. This could include something like workshops or presentations on the “wonders of working with Rosaceae” that would be presented at all major meetings.

c.       Developing and standardizing a set of plant reference systems for testing gene function. This could actually include the use of Arabidopsis or tobacco as well as members of the Rosaceae, but we need to have some standards. The product of this priority might be an Rosaceae instruction manual of sorts.

d.      Continuing to support the development of databases and tools at the GDR to allow for easy comparative genomics, and easy access to the tremendous amount of transcriptomic data that is anticipated in the near future.

·         Improve cross-training and communication among Rosaceae researchers working in various aspects of the industry.

I’m thinking here that growers, packers, marketers, agronomists, engineers, geneticists, breeders, and basic researchers would benefit by understanding what it is that each other is capable of, is needing, and/or is dreaming about having.

This evolved somewhat from a recent visit to a packing house, and the desire by growers at a recent meeting to know what this genomics thing is going to do, or can do, for them.

·         Explore the available gene diversity in collections and wild populations for disease, pest, and abiotic stress resistance.

·         Initiate coordinated explorations of the proteomes of organs and tissues that contribute to growth and health of the plants/trees



I hope this email stimulates thought and discussion.



Janet Slovin, Ph.D.

Genetic Improvement of Fruit and Vegetables Laboratory USDA/ARS

10300 Baltimore Ave

Beltsville, MD 20705-2350

Tel: 301-504-5629

FAX: 301-504-5653

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