Biotech Updates

Towards the Development of Stoneless Plums

April 24, 2009

Researchers at the United States Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service (ARS)  are gearing up towards the development of pitless plums, a desired character by consumers. ARS molecular biologist Chris Dardick and Ann Callhan and Prunus breeder Ralph Scorza at the ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, Virginia discovered that the genes responsible for the production of lignin are rapidly turned on just before hardening in specific pit tissues and are quickly turned off once the stone hardens.

Commercially available plum which lack the stone but contains the seed were genetically-engineered with an early-flowering trait that will greatly speed-up the breeding program. The resulting fruit needs to be improved to make it edible. According to Dardick, the success of the research may lead to the development of the desirable stoneless fruits such as cherries, peaches, nectarines and apricots.

See for a short detail on this research,.