The James Hutton Institute is a world class research centre for soft fruit, including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blackcurrants. James Hutton Institute varieties are licensed by Mylnefield Research Services (MRS) to growers throughout the world and have achieved impressive market shares. In addition to breeding new varieties, The James Hutton Institute is also recognised as a world leader in the study of the economically important pests and diseases of soft fruit including the development of integrated pest management strategies.
The James Hutton Institute scientists were the first in the world to develop a genetic linkage map for raspberry and together with MRS are using this knowledge to develop molecular markers for important diseases such as raspberry root rot. These markers will greatly enhance the breeding programmes at The James Hutton Institute and facilitate the release of new, improved varieties with good disease resistance. The first genetic linkage map for Ribes has also been completed by Institute scientists, and work to identify markers linked to key pest resistance and developmental traits is in progress.
In another project, funded through the DEFRA Horticulture LINK scheme, The James Hutton Institute are collaborating with East Malling Research to develop new strategies for increasing Vitamin C levels in blackcurrant fruit based on a fundamental understanding of the processes involved in Vitamin C production and transport in plants.
Mylnefield Research Services (MRS) would like to talk to any growers interested in licensing any of the James Hutton Institute fruit portfolio and to companies interested in initiating their own breeding programmes. The increase in interest in healthy eating coupled with access to plants with improved pest and disease resistance and improved pest control strategies makes investment in soft fruit breeding an attractive option.