At Planasa, the breeding or genetic improvement process is essential for obtaining and launching new berry varieties, the company’s main activity. This process involves the selection of plants based on desirable traits such as earliness, yield, flavor, and appearance, with the aim of obtaining varieties that adapt to the needs of different markets and farmers worldwide.
This process, carried out in a coordinated manner between the Breeding and Development teams of the R&D department, has several phases and sub-phases, which make launching a new variety from the first stage take between 8 and 10 years.
First stage: Pre-breeding
We study the genome of the genetic bank in search of biomolecular markers associated with the desired characteristics. This helps to accelerate the selection process of the most outstanding individuals in the selection phase for later crossing.
Second stage: Breeding
Starting from a quantity of X individuals and once the seedlings with the desired characteristics have been selected, the breeding process begins. In this phase, only a small percentage of the selected plants will pass to the next, which means that only the most promising plants are selected.
Third Stage: Crossing
In this phase, the breeding team will design the different crosses to be made, according to the research lines of the program. These lines are related to the previously selected traits and to the productive behavior or type of variety (Short Day or Neutral Day in strawberry; Primocane in raspberry and blackberry, low chill or high chill in blueberries).
Selection and crossing are stages that take around four years, in which the best individuals will pass through phases until they reach the development phase.
Third stage: Development phase
The varieties selected in the last breeding phase are evaluated based on the production process of farmers and tested both on external farmers’ farms and our own. In this phase, we seek to determine if the plants can grow and develop under different climatic and environmental conditions. This stage can last from three to five years.
Finally, after several years of evaluation and selection, only the best varieties are selected to be registered and commercialized. These varieties are those that have shown they can meet the demands of producers, retailers, and consumers worldwide.