|Home | About | Journals | Submit | Contact Us | Français|
Breeding plantation tree crops. Temperate species.
S Mohan Jain, PM Priyadarshan. eds. 2009.
New York, USA: Springer Science + Business Publishing. £153 (hardback). 290 pp.
In conjunction with the companion publication dealing with 16 tropical species of fruits, nuts and industrial crops, this volume is devoted to temperate fruits including two stone fruits, apricot and plums, three pome fruits, apple, pear and Citrus, a small fruit, raspberry, and two tree nuts, almond and walnut. It provides a good sample of temperate fruits and contributes effectively to presenting and understanding all aspects of breeding and crop production. The contributing authors selected, mainly originating from the USA and northern European Universities, are regarded as international experts in their specific crops.
Each chapter is divided into four parts: (1) an introduction, including history, characteristics of production, and uses; (2) a consideration of botany, comprising taxonomy, reproductive biology and main characteristics of the species; (3) breeding, with the different objectives and approaches, and, when necessary, a sub-chapter devoted to rootstocks; and (4) biotechnology, mainly devoted to molecular genetics.
The bibliographies for each chapter are generally comprehensive and often extensive (about 50–250 references per chapter, covering the last 50 years and integrating recent work). But, in some cases, the most innovative citations are missing, notably for apples, and this constitutes a certain weakness of the volume.
Origins and history are generally well illustrated, but recent studies concerning phylogeography or phylogeny are not mentioned. However, the chapters provide an efficient way to understand relationships between species and the diffusion of the plant material from the centres of origin, through different areas of the Mediterranean basin, for example.
The production and socio-economic importance of the crops covered are more or less developed according to the authors and the species. Interesting information is given concerning uses and nutritional composition; a positive aspect of the structure of the chapters that is very useful in the context of health benefits of fruit and food security.
The sub-chapters on botany give interesting information concerning taxonomy and reproductive biology. Self-incompatibility enhances the possibility to obtain interspecific hybrids, which are produced either by spontaneous hybridization or by crossing under controlled conditions. These possibilities offer very interesting strategies for the creation and selection of rootstocks either for Prunus (for example, peach × almond hybrids) or Citrus (e.g. citrange, citrumelo), and also for creation of innovative fruit material such as plumcot, Japanese plums, or tangerines.
In the sub-chapters on breeding, the consideration of genetic resources is more developed towards the idea of using genetic diversity, rather than evaluating and organizing germplasm collections at the national or international level (genebanks, core collections, methodologies of characterization and evaluation) or defining strategies for their use at the level of breeding programs.
The main objectives of selection are generally well described, both for cultivars and rootstocks. The different tools used in integrating breeding programs are well described, with an emphasis on biotechnological aspects in the strict sense, for example in the Citrus genus where the exploitation of this technology is highly developed. In most of the other chapters biotechnological approaches deal with molecular genetics: molecular markers, genetic mapping or marker-assisted selection. It is a little disappointing that new aspects concerning genomics or breeding strategies are not discussed.
In conclusion, despite the slight heterogeneity of presentation due to the variety of authors for different chapters, the book covers a good range of information dealing with eight major temperature fruit crops. It is well documented and appropriate for readers interested in breeding of temperate fruits species.