Virome characterization of European germplasm resources of pome fruits for future breeding and risk analysis

Nuria Fontdevila / Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech - Université de Liège

Project description

This individual project aims to study viral diversity of pome fruit trees, especifically apple (Malus Mill.) and pear (Pyrus L.), by high-throughput sequencing (HTS) for future breeding and risk analysis, with the use of epidemiological studies and bioinformatic tools. The innovation of this project comes from the biological material studied, which is taken from European germplasm resources along diverse cultivars (conservation, pre-breeding, etc.). Generally, pome fruit viruses are transmitted by grafting and, thus, by knowing when and where the trees were taken from, it is possible to develop an overview of the distribution of pome fruit viruses in Europe at several points in time. Additionally, because most of the research on pome fruit viruses is based on economically important commercial varieties, it is expected that the data generated from this project can help to uncover new viral species infecting pome fruits.

Project goals

This indiviual project has three main focus points: (i) to use HTS technologies to scan the virome of European pome fruit trees, especifically apple (Malus Mill.) and pear (Pyrus L.) along diverse cultivars (conservation, pre-breeding, etc.); (ii) to characterize newly identified viruses, in particular the most prevalent and associated with symptomatology, by epidemiological studies based on developed detection protocols; and, (iii) to analyse the observed results in the frame of pest risk analyses in order to be delivered to regulatory authorities.