Grade: The second prize
Winners: Zhang Shaoling, Shi Zebin, Wang Yingtao, Li Xiugen, Wu Jun, Li Yong, Hu Zhengling, Yang Jian, Tao Shutian, and Dai Meisong.
Pear is the third major fruit in China with a total growth area of 16.8 million mu and an annual yield of 18.9 tons, and it is of great importance in the planting industry. However, pear in China are mainly late mature local varieties which are ripe in September, and early and middle varieties are particularly scarce, resulting in extremely unreasonable variety structure of the fruit. Moreover, the genetic background of pear is unclear, traditional variety breeding is of long cycle and low efficiency, breeding of new variety with multiple excellent traits is of great difficulty, and variety replacement is rather slow. These bottleneck problems in pear industry development have prompted the present research team to have been devoted, for over two decades, to exploration into the genetic basis and efficient pear breeding technologies, under the support of a series of special pear industry research programs sponsored by the government; and they have successfully bred a number of new pear varieties of early and middle maturity and new red pear varieties, and have developed related new pear cultivation technologies. They have made a series of significant achievements which have been applied in pear production.
(1) They have created a germplasm bank of pear with the widest geographical and ecological coverage in the country, have explored excellent and specific germplasms and constructed a major parent germplasm bank, and have effectively solve the problem of narrow genealogical basis of pear. Specifically, they have collected 1635 copies of germplasm sources of all the 22 pear varieties in China; established a comprehensive evaluation system of large-scale pear germplasm resources by integration of molecular and phenotype techniques; constructed the first finger-print database of pear germplasm resources, and a phenotype database that covers 29 agronomic characters of pear, such as the flowering stage, maturation stage, sugars and organic acids in fruit, stone cells, resistance, and so on; and obtained 180 copies of elite germplasms of pear varieties of “New Century” “Xingshui” “Xuehua”, and “Mantianhong” and created a major parent germplasm bank which extends the genetic basis of pear breeding.
(2) They have established an effectively molecular-assisted and distantly hybrid breeding technological system which raises the efficiency and precision of pear breeding; drawn an internationally first map of whole genome and genetic diversity and created a gene pool and a genetic diversity pool, and an internationally first database of pear genes, systematically exploiting 42 important traits that regulate flowering, color, stone cells, and resistance in pear; developed a linkage map of pear genetics with the highest density in the world, precisely locating 32 QTL characters of 11 pear varieties occupying 72% of the located same-type QTLs in China and in the world; developed 13 molecular marks of pear characters like color and so on, creating an efficient and molecular-assisted system of pear breeding technologies; and developed distantly hybrid breeding technologies with quick-frozen and slow-melting pollen storage and facilitating germinating into seedling of hybrid varieties as core techniques, which lays the foundation for breeding new pear varieties.
(3) They have successfully bred new pear varieties including those early- and middle-maturity ones and a special red pear varieties, with a growth area accounting for over 60% of the area for growing hybrid pear varieties in China which has improved the situation of late mature and local pears as the dominant varieties and has facilitated pear variety replacement. The early mature pear varieties they have bred are those of “Cuiguan” “Zaobaimi” “Ningzaomi” “Ningsumi”, and “Xiaqing” which advance the market supply of the fruit by 30 days; and the middle mature pear varieties are those of “Huangguan” “Qingxiang” “Xialu” “Zaokui”, and “Jimi”. They have also bred red pear varieties of “Ningxia” and “Hongxiangsu”, with the latter being grown in the largest area for red pears in China. They have created 122 copies of new germplasms of different mature stages and high quality, all of which have been utilized by 45 breeders in the country who have further bred 96 new germplasms and seven new varieties, which have promoted breeding and industrialization of new pear varieties.
(4) They have innovated key technologies for high-quality and efficient production of new pear varieties, by breeding fine varieties with advanced techniques; created pear variety replacement technique of “high-position grooving grafting” inventing an “inverted-fork” tree form with higher efficiency of sunlight reception, solving the problems of slow variety replacement, unreasonable old tree form and poor fruit quality; invented the technique of pollination by pear tree liquid, saving 90% of human labor cost for farmers; and developed fine and efficient pear cultivation techniques, formulating The Technique Regulations of Fertilization Application to Pear.
Up to now, the research team of the present program has won four provincial and ministerial awards for scientific research, has been issued 43 patents for invention and 6 patents for practical application, has bred 12 new pear varieties of early and middle maturity and characteristic red pear variety; has formulated 10 regional standards for pear production; has published 272 research articles, including 78 ones in SCI journals like Genome Research, and one monograph entitled The Pear Science, and has had their new pear varieties and pear breeding technologies extended to over four million mu of pear growth with an increase in profit of 15 billion RMB for farmers which is a significant economic and social contribution.