Breeding new varieties of apples, pears and apricots is part of the remit of Agroscope’s breeding programmes. The new varieties must meet market and consumer requirements and be a step forward towards economically and environmentally sustainable production. The latest new varieties are called ‘Ladina’, CH201-‘FRED’®, ‘Lisa’ and ‘Mia’.
At Agroscope, hand pollination still forms the basis of breeding. Researchers cross parent varieties with desirable traits. This procedure is supported by molecular selection methods. In this way, they detect specific genes that are responsible e.g. for resistance to diseases, or for particular quality traits. As soon as the breeders have selected the numerous offspring plants for the desired traits, they carry out in-depth testing of the outstanding ones in terms of production, storage and fruit-quality characteristics.
“A big step towards economically and environmentally sustainable fruit production.”
Once an innovation is market-ready, the organisation responsible for the market launch of Agroscope fruit varieties – VariCom GmbH – comes into play. This is also the case for Ladina, FRED®, Lisa and Mia.
Ladina, the fireblight-tolerant apple variety
For the new apple variety Ladina, Agroscope breeders combined the qualities of the subacid and aromatic variety Topaz, which is also resistant to scab, with the sweet and crunchy Japanese variety Fuji. Unlike its parent varieties, Ladina is tolerant to the bacterial disease fire blight. After the successful testing in Switzerland, this variety is also being tested in France, Germany, Italy, the USA, Chile, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
The pear FRED ® with the skin of an apple
The fruit of Agroscope’s newly-bred pear variety is marketed under the brand name FRED®. The new pear boasts an early harvest-time, high productivity, and tolerance to fire blight. Juicy, flavourful, slightly subacid, and firm and crunchy, it stores well and can be handled similarly to an apple thanks to its firm skin.
Lisa and Mia: The offspring of the Valais apricot ‘Luizet’
The new apricot varieties ‘Lisa’ and ‘Mia’ have inherited their mother variety’s good taste. Luizet’s daughters also wow consumers with their high-quality flavour, tolerance to disease (Monilia in the case of Lisa, bacterial disease in the case of Mia), their attractive orange-red colour, and ripeness in the first half of July, as well as their good transportability and shelf-life.
The next aim is to develop offspring from Lisa and Mia which are tolerant to both monilia and bacterial disease.