Author Topic: Old Mystery Solved  (Read 740 times)


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Old Mystery Solved
« on: August 04, 2021, 03:21:09 PM »
How modern citrus developed, particularly the popular mandarin variety, has long been a mystery to citrus breeders. A global partnership of scientists recently unraveled a big part of the mystery by analyzing the genome sequences of 69 East Asian traditional, wild and atypical citrus varieties. One of the researchers was Fred Gmitter, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences horticulture professor at the Citrus Research and Education Center.The researchers determined that the complexity of many varieties can be traced to three previously unrecognized ancestral lineages. They discovered a new wild citrus species native to the Ryukyu islands, a chain of Japanese islands stretching southwest from Kyushu to Taiwan. From one lineage, an important citrus trait arose -- apomixis, or the ability of the tree to reproduce seedlings that are genetically identical to the mother tree. The spread of this trait throughout the broad citrus family was documented. All oranges, grapefruit, lemons and most citrus rootstocks possess this characteristic.The researchers determined that apomixis was responsible in part for the creation and spread of new hybrid citrus species native to Japan in a rare evolutionary mechanism. The results provide insights into future breeding strategies that may produce more desirable and marketable commercial citrus.“It is humbling to realize that the fruit we grow and eat today is the result of millions of years of both wild evolution and domestic cultivation,” Gmitter said. “Our findings raise more questions about what other citrus hybrids are out there and what characteristics may be beneficial to us as we look to breed more disease-resistant and environmental stress-resilient varieties. Understanding the past is really a window to the future.”


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Re: Old Mystery Solved
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2021, 06:07:52 PM »
We must both be signed up to American Fruit Grower newsletters (or other Meister Media publication) because I also received this story in my inbox this morning. The article is titled, "Ancient History Reveals Future Path for Citrus Growing Success" by Paul Rusnak with the link here: Also, here is the link to the Nature Communications paper "Diversification of mandarin citrus by hybrid speciation and apomixis" for those who want to take a deeper dive into citrus genetics:


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