"An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is a popular adage which shows the importance of fruit crops for the human diet. It is a matter of common knowledge that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fats is healthy and protective against cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers (Block et al. 1992; Ferro-Luzzi et al. 1994; Morris et al. 1994). The World Health Organization (1990; WHO) therefore recommends a daily intake of more than 400 g of vegetables and fruits per person. The worldwide mean daily fruit consumption of one person is approximately 170 g at the moment, which results in a total world consumption of about 390 million t year-1 (exclusive of grapevine; http://faostat.fao.org; data from 2003; newer data not available). Fruit crop production is thus of particular economical importance. In 2007, a total of about 500 million t of fruit crops (exclusive of melons) were produced in the world on approximately 47 million ha (http://faostat. fao.org). Highly productive cultivars are one of the most important basic requirements which must be available to cover such a demand. Fruit breeders are therefore always in search of new genotypes, which are more productive, highly resistant and better adapted to existing environmental conditions. So far so good, but the breeding of fruit crops is never easy. Many of the agronomically important fruit crops are woody plants, characterized by a long juvenile period. This fact makes breeding cycles very time-consuming and expensive (Flachowsky et al. 2009). Directed gene transfer via Agrobacterium tumefaciens or particle bombardment could offer an exciting tool to overcome most of the existing problems of classic breeding. In recent years many protocols have been established for the transformation of nearly all economical important fruit crops. A number of field trials with
M.-V. Hanke and H. Flachowsky
F. Kempken and C. Jung (eds.), Genetic Modification of Plants, 307
Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry 64,
DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-02391-0_17, © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010
GM fruit crops have been performed in Europe and in the United States, but only in two cases have GM fruit crops found their way into the market.
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