, Volume 154, Issue 3, pp 371–382 | Cite as

The need for characterisation and evaluation of germplasm: kiwifruit as an example

  • A. Ross FergusonEmail author


Genetic diversity provides the raw material for breeding and plant improvement. Breeders of plant species that have little or no history of improvement tend to make the greatest use of collections of raw or unimproved germplasm. Kiwifruit (Actinidia) are one such crop in that they have been subjected to little selection pressure and are still very similar to plants in the wild. To take advantage of the diversity in the genus Actinidia, breeders need to know the extent of the diversity and also need to be able to identify the plants with which they are working. Voucher specimens should be prepared for all plants used in experimental studies. A good understanding of the reproductive biology of Actinidia should facilitate incorporation of wild germplasm into kiwifruit breeding programmes. The HortResearch Actinidia collection has already proved its worth with the development of valuable new kiwifruit cultivars.


Actinidia Breeding Germplasm Kiwifruit Reproductive biology Ploidy 


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I acknowledge helpful discussions with RA Beatson, G Cipriani, PM Datson, LG Fraser, H-W Huang, the late C-F Liang, RG Lowe, MA McNeilage, BG Murray, T Paterson, AG Seal, R Testolin, J-H Wu and G-J Yan. I thank FA Gunson and C Kingston for reading the manuscript.

The HortResearch Actinidia germplasm collection is supported by the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, the HortResearch Kiwifruit Royalties Investment Programme and ZESPRI International Ltd.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.HortResearchAucklandNew Zealand

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