W509 Genomic Manipulation of Nutrient Bioavailability in Selected Fruits and Nuts

Date: Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Time: 12:00 PM
Room: Royal Palm Salon 4,5,6
Thomas Gradziel , University of California, Davis, CA
Clonally propagated crops have a long history of phytomedomic use. Because asexual propagation allows the continued true-to-type cultivation of selected genotypes for hundreds to thousands of years, fine-tuned genomic compositions can be selected, utilized, improved upon and passed to future generations through vegetative propagation and associated folklore.  For example, almond, with its center of origin and domestication in the Fertile Crescent, has a rich pharmacological history ranging from the third century BCE Greek writings of Hippocrates and the classic Indian Ayurvedic medical texts to current nutriomic research. Contributions to the human diet include access to essential nutrients as well as improved organoleptic quality. Food safety concerns, including allergies and microbial contamination, are determined not only by the fruit and nut composition as established by genotype and environment, but also the public-health situation of the consumer.  Even greater complexities are encountered with nutriomic assessment owing to the complex biological processes involved and associated synergisms and antagonisms. For commercial success, the improved cultivar must also meet minimum thresholds of consumer and producer acceptability. Consumer preference will depend upon intricate sensory attributes and accessible pricing, while producers require good yield efficiency. Although emerging genomic technologies will allow a more accurate dissection and characterization of individual phytomedomic and nutriomic components, the inherently reductionistic, additive-gene approach utilized may be prove a barrier to the successful breeding of such inherently multifaceted cultivars.