About this Research Topic
Rosaceae is a medium-sized family of flowering plants, consisting of approximate 4800 species classified into 91 genera. Many of these species have been domesticated to important fruit crops, including apple, pear, peach and strawberry. These crops are grown worldwide and can provide humans with essential dietary components.
The diversity of fruit types in this family is a key factor in the success of developing a wide range of fruit crops from Rosaceae plants. In addition to dry fruits, many different types of fleshy fruits are present in Rosaceae. These fleshy fruits may develop from ovary tissues (termed a true fruit) and include peach, cherry and apricot. The fleshy fruits can also develop from ovary tissues plus accessory tissues surrounding the ovary, and are termed accessory fruits. The accessory tissues that contribute to accessory fruits can differ between species, adding to the diversity of accessory fruits. For example, apple, strawberry and rosehips are all accessory fruits, but are completely different in size, shape, texture and flavor. In contrast to Rosaceae, the Brassicaceae family, consisting of 372 genera and 4060 accepted species including Arabidopsis thaliana, has a single fruit type, termed a silique, which is a dry fruit derived from ovaries. Solanaceae, consisting of about 98 genera and some 2700 species including tomato, has both dry and fleshy fruits all derived from ovaries. Due to the wide variety of fruit types, Rosaceae is an ideal family of closely-related species for studying the conservation and diversification of genetic systems regulating fruit development and quality attributes.
Genetic networks controlling fruit development have largely been unravelled using model plant species, such as Arabidopsis and tomato, with molecular genetics and genomics tools. The functions of components of the genetic networks have often been tested in Rosaceae species and shown to be conserved in many cases, but diversified in others. For example, RIN, a ripening regulator initially identified in tomato, has homologs in apple and strawberry, with functions in regulating fruit ripening. Recent advances in Rosaceae genomics, including the establishment of high quality reference genomes; large scale genome re-sequencing; and transcriptome databases, provide more effective resources for studying the genetic regulation of fruit development and quality in Rosaceae. These resources form the foundation for this Research Topic.
This Research Topic aims to cover different aspects of research in the area of Rosaceae fruit development, from fruit set to fruit ripening. It covers a wide range of fruit traits, including but not limited to parthenocarpy and the size, shape, ripening, storage, texture, flavor, and chemical composition of fruit. Preferred topics may include identification, molecular mapping and/or cloning of important genes underpinning fruit traits or quantitative trait loci (QTL), functional characterization of candidate genes or QTL in relation to fruit traits, genetic transformation or transgenic research, and marker-assisted selection or genome selection for fruit improvement. Where possible, authors are encouraged to carry out comparative analysis of the structure and function of fruit trait genes across at least two Rosaceae species or between a model species and a Rosaceae species. Descriptive studies, including those using 'omics approaches, will not be considered for review unless they address further functional insights into a relevant physiological process.
Keywords: Rosaceae, Fruit development, Genetics, Genomics
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