XV. EUCARPIA Fruit Breeding and Genetics Symposium Summary

On the first week of June, the XV EUCARPIA Fruit Breeding and Genetics Symposium was held in the Study and Information Centre (SIC) of the Czech University of Life Sciences (CULS) in Prague – Suchdol. VÝZKUMNÝ A ŠLECHTITELSKÝ ÚSTAV OVOCNÁŘSKÝ HOLOVOUSY s.r.o. (VŠÚO), Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, European Association for Research on Plant Breeding (EUCARPIA) and International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) participated in symposium organizing. The idea of organizing this symposium in the Czech Republic was made with reference to the lifelong work of Mr and Mrs Blazek. 

These long-time employees of VŠÚO are still recognized experts in the field of fruit breeding. Their work is constantly being followed by scientific and breeding workplaces around the world. The seat of VŠÚO - the main symposium organizer is located far from Prague (120 km) in Eastern Bohemia. For this reason, the modern campus of the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague (district 6) was selected as a symposium venue due to greater social and infrastructure facilities and better transport accessibility. 

The five-day symposium was truly international, as nearly 150 scientists and experts from 30 countries across five continents took part in the event. During the three-day lecture block, which was inaugurated by the CULS vice-rector prof. Lošťák, more than 40 scientific works were presented in the form of oral presentations. These lectures were for example related to breeding programs in sweet cherry, apple, pear or apricot, maintenance and diversity of fruit gene banks, the influence of somatic mutations on peach breeding, transcriptional analyses and identification of apricot candidate genes, various types of genetic markers detecting the most important diseases affecting fruit species and influences of rootstocks on the resistance or allergenicity of different apple cultivars. 

In addition to oral presentations, a poster section was richly filled, with 110 papers presenting the latest results of ongoing projects or visions of those beginning at national and international levels. At the same time, while explaining the results, it was also possible to discuss the possibilities of future cooperation, internships or excursions.

In addition to the professional part of the symposium, the participants were also invited to visit the most famous historical parts of Prague and a social evening in the hotel Galaxie. 

They also participated in a tour of the premises of the Czech University of Life Sciences. The last day of the symposium was dedicated to technical tour in field plantations and laboratories of VŠÚO in Holovousy and in commercial orchards of fruit growing company Sady Český ráj s.r.o.

During a business meeting of EUCARPIA and ISHS on the last day of Prague part of the symposium, it was decided that our cooperating research organization, Julius Kühn Institute in Dresden - Pillnitz, Germany, would be the organizer of next 16th EUCARPIA Fruit and Genetics Breeding Symposium in 2023. Based on the voting of business meeting participants, Ing Jiří Sedlák Ph.D. from VŠÚO was elected the new chairman of EUCARPIA fruit section. He replaced prof. Stefan Tartarini from the University of Bologna in this position.