New website highlights fruit genome databases

WSUCherriesSmallPULLMAN, Wash. – A new educational and outreach website has launched to provide information to scientists, growers and industry about genome databases for citrus, tree fruit and berry crops.

Called “tree fruit Genome Database Resources,” or tfGDR, the website ( accesses several databases that house genomic, genetic and breeding resources for 22 major horticultural crops. It includes videos and articles that highlight the role genomics, breeding and these databases in particular are playing in solving industry problems in fruit production.

WSU Cherries
WSU Cherries

“It’s important that growers and industry stakeholders understand how these data can be used to solve production issues, improve breeding efforts and find sources of disease and pest resistance,” said University of Florida Extension Educator Mercy Olmstead. “This website will help to ‘connect the dots’ and show how scientists are taking genetic data and improving fruit varieties for sustainable production.”

“Another purpose of this website is to provide basic information to scientists regarding the information and tools available at these databases and how to use them,” said Julia Piaskowski, postdoctoral researcher with Dorrie Main at Washington State University.

TreeFruitWebsiteThe website also describes an upcoming project the Main lab is developing: the Growers Toolbox, an online decision-making tool for growers. This resource will provide information linked to relevant weather, soil and environmental conditions to help growers decide what fruit varieties are most suitable to their growing conditions for new plantings of citrus and Rosaceae fruits. The genome databases are the result of collaboration between WSU (Dorrie Main, Cameron Peace, Kate Evans, Nnadozie Oraguzie, Desmond Layne), Clemson University (Bert Abbott), Florida (Fred Gmitter, Mercy Olmstead, James Olmstead), the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research (Lukas Mueller) and North Carolina State University (Allan Brown).

The extensive resources available – including whole genome sequences, expression data, metabolic pathways, large scale breeding data and tools for exploring and using that information – are designed to meet the needs of basic, translational and applied researchers.

The work was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Research Initiative from 2009 to 2014, the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, the Citrus Research and Development Foundation and the participating universities and institutes.

Dr. Mercy Olmstead, 352-273-4772,
Dr. Julia Piaskowski, 208-301-8764,
Dr. Dorrie Main, 509-335-2774,