Raquel Sánchez Pérez

"Ramón y Cajal" fellow

Campus Universitario de Espinardo, 30100 Murcia, Spain

Telf.: +34 968396200, ext. 6116

ResearchID: Z-2674-2019

Skype: raqsanchezperez



The majority of the temperate fruit tree species belongs to the Rosaceae family, which encompasses about 100 different genera with more than 2000 species. Within this family, Prunus is one of the most important genera from an agronomical point of view producing more than 40 MMt worldwide of peaches and nectarines, apricots, almonds and sweet and sour cherries, cultivated in 1.7 MM ha.

Climate change is forcing not only fruit tree breeders to improve their efforts in developing new varieties that can be adapted and be economically competent in the new climate conditions, but also scientists to develop new and natural treatments that can compensate for the loss of chilling units that plants need to make an effective and yearly even fruit production.

It is known how important is the application of MAS in breeding programs as i.e. almond. In general, the global objective of a Prunus breeding program is obtaining new cultivars, self-compatible, of extra-late or extra-early blooming, productive, of high-quality fruit / kernels (i.e. sweet, firmness, low acidity etc.) with a chemical composition resulting in an excellent quality from the points of view sensorial, commercial, industrial and healthy. The knowledge of easy and suitable biotechnological tools is crucial for the development of molecular markers.

My research topic is the study of important agronomic traits within Prunus species to develop molecular markers to help breeders and growers in a climate change context. The main disadvantage of these species is their long juvenile period of three to four years, as occurs in almond, apricot, or even more in cherry etc.. These species only bloom once a year. Therefore, we have to wait two to three years to have statistical results when experiments are performed in reproductive organs such as flowers and fruits.

Due to these factors, the time necessary to obtain a new Prunus variety, e.g. almond, is approximately 10 years.

On the other hand, these plant species contain cyanogenic glucosides as prunasin and amygdalin that when cells are disrupted results in the release of hydrogen cyanide. We have recently elucidated the gene responsible for bitterness in almond by the sequencing of the almond genome, together with biochemistry and physiological studies. These results have been published in the prestigious scientific journal Science.

Projects participating:

  1. "Trip to the past to change the future of temperate fruits in a climate change scenario (AUSTRAL)", funded by BBVA Foundation (PI).
  2. "Breeding Stone Fruit Species Assisted By Molecular Tools" funded by Séneca Foundation.
  3. "ALmond ADaptation In Novel environments: Multiscale Approach from Genome to function prediction [ALADINO MAGIC]" funded by MICINN (PI).

Almond diversity and homozygosity define structure, kinship, inbreeding, and linkage disequilibrium in cultivated germplasm, and reveal genomic associations with nut and seed …

Publication date: 10-01-2021

Authors: Stefano Pavan, Chiara Delvento, Rosa Mazzeo, Francesca Ricciardi, Pasquale Losciale, Liliana Gaeta, Nunzio D’Agostino, Francesca Taranto, Raquel Sánchez-Pérez, Luigi Ricciardi, Concetta Lotti

Journal: Horticulture research

Almond [Prunus dulcis Miller (DA Webb)] is the main tree nut species worldwide. Here, genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) was applied to 149 almond cultivars from the ex situ collections of the Italian Council for Agricultural Research (CREA) and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), leading to the detection of 93,119 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The study of population structure outlined four distinct genetic groups and highlighted diversification between the Mediterranean and Californian gene pools. Data on SNP diversity and runs of homozygosity (ROHs) allowed the definition of kinship, inbreeding, and linkage disequilibrium (LD) decay in almond cultivated germplasm. Four-year phenotypic observations, gathered on 98 cultivars of the CREA collection, were used to perform a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and, for the first time in a crop species, homozygosity mapping (HM …

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41438-020-00447-1




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International Plant & Animal Genome XXVIII in San Diego, California, USA

Mutation of a bHLH Transcription Factor Allowed Almond Domestication (Invited speaker).

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Special Issue Agronomy: Domestication and Transcription Factors


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