$4.5M to help Cornell next-gen grape research

Experimental grape clusters.
GENEVA, NY -- The next generation of improved grapes grown in New York State will be nourished by $4.5 million in federal grants.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crop Research Initiative has awarded two grans toitaling that amount to subsidize a pair or projects.

One is headed by Bruce Reisch, Cornell University grape breeder and professor of horticulture. The other is led by Tim Martinson, Extension senior associate. Both projects are taking on the question of how to make grape breeding more efficient ande come to market faster than the typical 15- to 20-year timeline.

"We are focusing on developing wine, juice, table and raisin grapes with three attributes: fruit quality, cold hardiness and resistance to powdery mildew, a fungal pathogen that is costly to control," Reisch told Farm&Dairy.com.

The website reports that "Reisch is working with 24 scientists at all six publicly funded U.S. grape breeding programs on a $2 million project to streamline genomewide DNA analysis and trait-screening methods to more efficiently identify promising progeny. His project team also includes Cornell plant pathologists, enologists, scientists with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service in Geneva and Ithaca, and experts with Cornell's Life Science Core Laboratories got genomics and computation biology.

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