Ain’t It Peachy

Mar 12, 2021

Some fruitful new findings just gave peach producers a lot to look forward to.

Researchers at Boyce Thompson Institute discovered several powerful peach genes. Using 2,700 spots in the genome of 260 wild peach varieties, the scientists found links to 51 environmental factors sending breeders off to the races.

With the science in hand, new peach varieties can be developed to withstand stress in the form of cold, drought, or even high altitude UV radiation.

California’s ears just perked up: The #1 peach-producing state, California, provides 56% of the U.S. fresh peach crop and 96% of the country’s processed peaches.

New varieties also mean expanded growing regions, which might stretch up to the Pacific Northwest, where frost and cold snaps previously limited peach output.

Peaches time to shine: While most genetics-focused research and varietal development happens in commodity crops like corn, soybeans, and rice, peaches and other fruit crops are usually left in the dust. But now, the 24.5 million tons of global peach production can expand its vision and reduce waste.

Cheers to China’s case study: Researchers looked to the country as a model as wild peaches have adapted to lowland acres or colder climates. The U.S. crop will benefit from the environmental observations in the Asian nation.