Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile: Researchers carry out preselection of cherry trees obtained through a genetic improvement program

At the end of November, the first field day was held to know the cherry tree presets obtained by the Cherry Genetic Improvement Program , belonging to the Fruit Technology Consortium . During the activity, they visited the San Vicente de Paul Agricultural School, in Coltauco, O’Higgins Region to see and taste the cherries from trees with high potential to become a new variety of cherry trees for Chile.

The Cherry Tree Genetic Improvement Program already has a 10-year history and, to date, has identified more than 80 individuals with organoleptic and quality characteristics. Some of these individuals ( shortlisted ) are already in pre-commercial evaluation .

The PMGCe aims to obtain new cherry varieties for Chile , considering earlier and later harvest dates, quality fruit and excellent storage capacity.

After 10 years of work, more than 80 individuals with organoleptic and quality characteristics have already been identified. Some of them are in pre-commercial evaluation.

The team has the participation of researchers from the Faculty of Agronomy and Forest Engineering Marlene Ayala (director), Juan Pablo Zoffoli and Marlene Gebauer . In addition, the research assistants Katherine Walls and Andrés Valezuela participate, who have supported the operation of the project both at the Pirque Experimental Station and at the San Vicente de Paul School.


The Cherry Tree Genetic Improvement Program already has a 10-year history and, to date, has identified more than 80 individuals with organoleptic and quality characteristics. Some of these individuals (shortlisted) are already in pre-commercial evaluation. Image courtesy of the Fruit Technology Consortium.
Cherries with less cold requirement and less splitting
Through traditional genetic improvement, which takes several years since you must wait for the trees to grow, the Cherry Tree Genetic Improvement Program has dedicated its efforts to developing new genetic varieties that make Chile more competitive.

Directed crosses (manually or with bumblebees) have allowed the development of hybrids with the potential to become varieties of cherry trees, capable of expanding the commercial window of our country, thanks to the difference in harvest time (early and late ), and that due to its ability to maintain its sweetness, good size and firmness.

New varieties have been sought that adapt to our climatic conditions. This has implied generating, through crossing, varieties with longer postharvest time, less cold requirement and less splitting . In addition, they have developed a technological package – irrigation, nutrition, load regulation through pruning – to ensure quality from pre-harvest, that is, the time that cherries spend in transfer to other cities, countries or continents.

The targeted crossbreeding (manually or bumblebees) , have enabled the development of hybrids with the potential to become varieties of cherry trees, able to expand trade window of our country, thanks to the difference in harvest time (early and late ), and that due to its ability to maintain its sweetness, good size and firmness.

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