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Horticulture in the omics era

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Horticultural research focuses on vegetable, fruit and ornamental crops that are produced under intensive cultivation regimes. A large taxonomic diversity is covered resulting in reduced resources for research for individual crops as compared to the situation found in agricultural crops. With the exception of ...

Horticultural research focuses on vegetable, fruit and ornamental crops that are produced under intensive cultivation regimes. A large taxonomic diversity is covered resulting in reduced resources for research for individual crops as compared to the situation found in agricultural crops. With the exception of a few prominent species or models such as Petunia which is frequently used as a model for flower development comparatively little information is available about genetic, physiological, and biochemical properties of most horticultural crops. As a consequence the advances in breeding, propagation, cultivation and postharvest processing have been lagging behind those obtained in the major agricultural crops. The emerging omics technologies that led to tremendous advances in our understanding of plant function in many model species and in major crops have the potential to bridge this gap for a number of horticultural crops.

The last decade has seen incredible advances in sequencing technologies drastically increasing our knowledge about plant genomes and transcriptomes. Prominent examples for the horticultural sciences are the complete sequencing of the peach, apple, strawberry and cucumber genomes. Even more complex genomes where complete sequencing is still a technical challenge are being analysed by partial sequencing or by transcriptome sequencing. The huge number of markers that can be generated from such data enables genetic studies in e.g. polyploid crops of crops for which no genetic information was available. Together with new ways of analysis as for example association genetics and improved phenotyping and biostatistical methods this opens up new areas of research in which phenotypes can be linked to genetic parameters. In the area of functional analyses similar technological developments allow the analysis of proteomes and metabolomes, which will shed light on many processes related to product quality and postharvest physiology of horticultural crops.

This Frontiers Research Topic will cover a broad range of questions from applied research on horticultural crops with a particular focus on omics technologies. It is intended to include contributions about fruit, vegetable and ornamental crops using all of omics technologies including genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics.

As most horticultural crops do not serve as models for the investigation of basic principles in plant science another focus will be to point out how omics technologies will help to utilise information from model plants for real world horticultural crops and to analyse the numerous variations in those physiological and biochemical processes for which the basic principles have already been analysed in model plants. Furthermore, it is expected that contributions to this Frontiers Research Topic will show innovative approaches to solve problems in breeding, propagation, cultivation and postharvest processing of horticultural crops.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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