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Some reflexions on apricot selection

Crossa-Raynaud, P., Audergon, J.M.
Acta horticulturae 1991 no.293 pp. 73-85
agricultural programs and projects, breeding, apricots, cultivars
After thirty years of breeding and selection of apricot cultivars in different countries it seems advisable to take stock of experience. Many researches have been carried on according to geographical situations with very different climatic, cultural and economical conditions. A great number of crosses have been made using a very large genetical basis. The varietal improvement expected has not been proved to be easy to obtain: as a matter of fact only one good cultivar on one thousand hybrids seems to be the rate. Under these conditions the question is: how can we make use of our experience to improve the selection in the future? Their are two decisive levels in our work: have a clear notion of the characters we make use in our selection and their limits of variation. the permanence of the informations we gather in terms of years, grafting and multilocal trials. Precicely it means that: It is possible to quickly get rid of low level hybrids only if the criterias on which we make out our judgement are not susceptible to varietal acclimatation. It is thus impossible to pull out rapidly the best individuals in a population of hybrids. But on the contrary the risk of eliminating a good seedling seems low. It is not adequate to select a new cultivar from a seedling if we do not know its behaviour after grafting and in other climatic situations. Multilocal trials are necessary if we want a clear information. It is therefore only possible to eliminate hybrid seedlings presenting major failings rather than to chose the best ones. As we know that the characters that we select are mainly polygenic we can make now a good choice of the parents especially to improve fruit quality: better taste and good evolution of the fruit after commercial harvesting. Unfortunatly these notations can not be made actually directly on the seedlings, but they appear interesting in parent choices.