Cornell, Sun World team to develop new table grape varieties

01/22/2009 02:00:00 AM

Ithaca, N.Y.-based Cornell University and Sun World International LLC of Bakersfield, Calif., have teamed up to develop new table grape varieties.

The venture will combine the two entities' research strengths to develop improved varieties for grape growers, both here and abroad.

Bruce Reisch, a grape geneticist at Cornell's Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y., will work with Sun World grape breeder Michael Striem to combine desirable fruit traits and characteristics from the New York and California programs.

Cornell's expertise, cultivated for more than a century, is in breeding flavorful, disease-resistant, and cold-hardy grapes for the cool climate of upstate New York and similar regions, according to a news release.

Sun World's genetic stock has been developed over a 25-year period to produce large, seedless, sweet, crunchy, attractive grapes in the Mediterranean climate of Southern California that ship and store well.

Scientists at both institutions will exchange plant materials, such as pollen and cuttings, and regularly visit each other's research sites.

The collaboration provides both breeding programs, which use conventional plant breeding methods, direct access to a vast collection of grape cultivars and selections.

Cornell is represented in the collaboration through the Cornell Center for Technology Enterprise and Commercialization, which is responsible for the management of Cornell's technology.

Sun World will manage the U.S. and international introduction of new varieties produced from the combined research effort.

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