Genetic improvement and functional genomics of Aronia
Fruits in the Rosaceae family, subtribe Pyrinae, consist of a number of economically important fruit crops that are beneficial for human nutrition. Common pome fruits include Malus Mill. (apple), Pyrus L. (pear) and Cydonia Mill. (quince) along with less commonly known fruits including Sorbus L. (mountain ash), Aronia Med. (chokeberry), Amelanchier Med. (serviceberry), Crataegus L. (hawthorn), and several other woody plants. Interest in Aronia fruit has increased because of their high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols and wide adaptability to various geographic regions with few disease and pest issues. However, Aronia fruit production uses germplasm that is comprised of very little genetic diversity and to protect fruit growers from adverse biological and economical impacts, it will be essential to create novel types of Aronia fruits to diversify production.