Apple and Peach Breeding

Breeding Apples: The PRI Program

Initiated in 1945, the PRI cooperative program uses the resources of Purdue University, Rutgers University, and the University of Illinois to breed disease-resistant apples. The program was initiated to develop cultivars specifically resistant to scab, caused by the fungus Venturia inaequalis. Researchers also look at tolerance to two other major diseases: fireblight and cedar-apple rust. Fruit eating quality, as well as fruit size and productivity, are also considered in breeding efforts.

Named cultivars developed by the program include Jonafree (1979), Redfree (1981), and Pristine™(1994).

Joseph Goffreda, Ph.D.

For more information:

PRI Disease Resistant Apple Breeding Program:
Korban, S., Goffreda, J., Janick, J. 2009. 'Co-op 31' (WineCrisp™) Apple. HortScience 44, 198-199.

Duration: Ongoing

Breeding Peaches for the Northeast

Dr. Joseph Goffreda, director of the Rutgers Fruit and Ornamental Extension Station, breeds peaches for tolerance to major diseases, particularly bacterial spot. Bacterial spot is difficult to control and typically requires the use of antibiotics and/or copper. Many commercial varieties have been developed on the West coast, where there is low disease pressure. The climate in New Jersey, however, can be favorable to disease development. Dr. Goffreda develops cultivars more suitable for production in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Other factors considered in the breeding and selection process include tolerance to other major diseases, cold-hardy flower buds, and fruit eating quality. Only traditional breeding techniques are used. The cultivars from the Rutgers breeding program are competitive with those currently being grown.

Rutgers partners with Adams County Nursery for testing propagation, and distribution. Several Rutgers cultivars have been released, including Desiree™.

Joseph Goffreda, Ph.D.

Partners: Adams County Nursery

Duration: Ongoing

SEBS/NJAES news article: Inventor of the Year Award