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NSF grant plants seeds for building better fruit trees

 

Kenong Xu's research will help researches change tree architecture allowing more high-density planting and transforming the layout of orchards. (Robyn Wishna photo.)

Kenong Xu’s work will help researchers change tree architecture, allowing more high-density planting and transforming the layout of orchards. (Robyn Wishna photo.)

Cornell Chronicle [2015-01-12]

A Cornell-U.S. government research team is poised to transform the shape of trees and orchards to come, thanks to a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation Plant Genome Research Program.

The project, “Elucidating the Gene Networks Controlling Branch Angle and the Directional Growth of Lateral Meristems in Trees,” is led by Kenong Xu, assistant professor of horticulture at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, and plant molecular biologist Chris Dardick and research engineer Amy Tabb from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory in West Virginia.

The research team is seeking to uncover genes and gene networks that underpin how apical control – the inhibitory effect on a lateral branch’s growth by the shoots above it – influences branch growth in apple and peach trees.

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