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Seminar video: Agricultural Workforce Outlook: How Demographics, Technology, and Markets are Transforming Farm Labor

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar, Agricultural Workforce Outlook: How Demographics, Technology, and Markets are Transforming Farm Labor,  with Agricultural Workforce Specialist Richard Stup, it is available online.


More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

Genetic marking discovery could ease plant breeders’ work

bruce reisch with grapevines on a sunny day

Bruce Reisch, professor of horticulure and member of the VitsGen2 team at Cornell AgriTech, assesses powdery mildew on chardonnay vines. Photo: Allison Usavage/Cornell University

Cornell Chronicle/CALS News [2020-01-21]

Plant breeders are always striving to develop new varieties that satisfy growers, producers and consumers.

To do this, breeders use genetic markers to bring desirable traits from wild species into their cultivated cousins. Transferring those markers across species has been difficult at best, but a team of grapevine breeders, geneticists and bioinformatic specialists at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, New York, has come up with a powerful new method.

Their research is detailed in “Haplotyping the Vitis Collinear Core Genome With rhAmpSeq Improves Marker Transferability in a Diverse Genus,” published Jan. 21 in Nature Communications.

The team’s new technique for developing genetic markers improves markers’ transfer rate across grapevine species by leaps and bounds – from 2% to 92%. With it, breeders worldwide can screen their collections and find out immediately which vines have the traits they want – regardless of what varieties they are, where they came from or which species their parents were.

“This new marker development strategy goes well beyond grapes,” said co-author Bruce Reisch, professor of horticulture in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and leader of Cornell’s Grapevine Breeding and Genetics Program. “It’s applicable for breeding and genetic studies across different grape breeding programs, plant species and other diverse organisms.”

Read the whole article.

How much would you pay for the perfect strawberry?

Marvin Pritts with high tunnel raspberries

Marvin Pritts with high tunnel raspberries.

According to an article in Time Magazine published online January 9,  high-end “Omakase berries”  —  a Japanese strawberry variety known for its “beautiful aroma and exceptional sweetness” with a seedless exterior and “creamy texture” — will set you back $50 for a package of eight.

Even if you could afford them, it’s unlikely you’ll ever see them in the supermarket any time soon at any price because “what supermarkets stock tends to be what they can sell with ease and consistency; a pesky thing like flavor is secondary,” explains Marvin Pritts, Professor of Horticulture at Cornell’s School of Integrative Plant Science.   “Consumer demand for a year-round supply of everything makes it challenging for supermarkets to provide consumers with consistently good-tasting fruits and vegetables — so they try to make everything generic,” he says.

Pritts believes that despite the fact that they are priced out of the reach of most consumers, innovations like the Omakase berry are only encouraging, and we should be excited about “anything that contributes to people eating more fruits and vegetables.”  He suggests checking out local farms and picking your own fruit. “This could be a blessing in disguise, as it will expose consumers to what really good fruit can taste like,” he points out.

Read the whole article.

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