Estación Experimental de Aula Dei
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Developmental Biology and Genetic Resources in Pomology

  Objectives Papers Grants Patents




Dr. María Herrero*, Dr. Pilar Andreu, Dr. Aránzazu Arbeloa, Dr. Juan A. Marín

M. Reyes  López 

Dr. Afif Delhi, Laura Carrera

* Research Group Leader

General objective


The general objective of the group is the knowledge of plant natural strategies that have a bearing in agriculture and the study of genetic resources in fruit tree species.


Specific objectives


1. Reproductive Biology


M. Herrero


The study of reproductive biology is integrated with its agronomic implications. The hypothesis to evaluate is that the flower hosts a number of mechanisms that regulate male-female interaction and are responsible for the regulation of offspring production and hence of crop production.




-    Pollination requirements and pollinator cultivars.


-    Study of the mechanisms that regulate male-female interaction.


-    Factors that interfere in the process of fruit set: temperature and nutritive status. While this line will continue to contribute transfer of knowledge to users, emphasis also will be given to address the study of strategies unveiled by the group and that are conserved in flowering plants.


2. Genetic Resources


A. Arbeloa, M. Herrero, J.A. Marin, P. Andreu




-    Recovery of jeopardize genetic resources.


-    Characterisation of plant material in cherrys, plums, apricots, and rootstocks from the genus Prunus


-    New plant material: a clonal selection and an evaluation of offspring in apricot (in collaboration with CITA), selection for a hybrid rootstocks plum x apricot, and selection of a kiwi pollinator (in collaboration with SERIDA-Asturias). This line will clearly provide a rich genetic substrate to provide answers to new questions addressed by users.


3. Early selection


J.A. Marin, A. Arbeloa, P. Andreu


The rapid increase of new cultivars and rootstocks, together with the slow and expensive processes of selection prompts to the search for new strategies for an early selection of plant material. The group uses in vitro culture to address this point.




-    Characterization of the processes involved in organogenesis.


-    Histochemical studies on the adaptive response to the environment.


-    Selection for tolerance to chlorosis, salinity and asphyxia. This line also will continue to provide consultancy facilities to the nursery industry interested in implementing these facilities.


Representative research papers


SCI papers:


Errea P, Garay L, Marín JA (2001) Early detection of graft-incompatibility in apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) using in vitro techniques. Physiologia Plantarum, 112: 135-141.


Rodrigo J, Herrero M (2002) Effects of pre-blossom temperature on flower development and fruit set in apricot. Scientia Horticulturae, 92: 125-135.


Rodrigo J, Herrero M (2002) The onset of fruiting in apricot (Prunus armeniaca). Journal of Applied Botany, 76: 13-19.


Sanzol J, Herrero M (2002) Identification of self-incompatibility alleles in pear cultivars (Pyrus communis L.). Euphytica 128: 325-331.


Hedhly A, Hormaza JI, Herrero M (2003). The effect of temperature on stigmatic receptivity in sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.). Plant Cell and Environment 26 (10): 1673-1680.


Herrero M (2003). Male female synchrony and the regulation of mating in flowering plants. Philosophycal Transactions of the Royal Society, Biological Sciences 358: 1019-1024.


Sanzol J, Rallo P, Herrero M (2003). Asynchronous development of stigmatic receptivity in the pear (Pyrus communis L. Rosaceae) flower. American Journal of Botany 90: 78-84.


Sanzol J, Rallo P, Herrero M (2003). Stigmatic receptivity limits the effective pollination perioin‘Agua de Aranjuez’ pear. Proceedings of the American Society for Horticultural Science 128 (4): 458-462.


Hedhly A, Hormaza JI, Herrero M (2004) Effect of temperature on pollen tube kinetics and dynamics in sweet cherry (Prunus avium, Rosaceae). American Journal of Botany 91 (4): 558-564.


Hedhly A, Hormaza JI, Herrero, M (2005) Influence of genotype-temperature interaction on pollen performance. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 18: 1494–1502.


Hedhly A, Hormaza JI, Herrero, M (2005) The effect of temperature on pollen germination, pollen tube growth and stigmatic receptivity in peach (Prunus persica L. Batsch.) Plant Biology 7: 476-483.


Andreu P, Marin JA (2005) In vitro culture establishment and multiplication of the Prunus rootstock 'Adesoto 101' (P. insititia L.) as affected by the type of propagation of the donor plant and by the culture medium composition. Scientia Horticulturae 106: 258-267.


Current research grants and contracts (active)


Banco de germoplasma de ciruelo europeo (género Prunus, sección Europrunus). Caracterización y ampliación. INIA,     RF2004-00019-C02-01. Responsible: Arbeloa.


Germplasma de cerezo: Prospección, caracterización y evaluación de variabilidad. INIA, RF2004-00026-C02-02. Responsible: Herrero.


Desarrollo de métodos de selección precoz en patrones de ciruelo para albaricoquero. MEC, PN, AGL2002-03231. Responsible: Marín.


Biología reproductiva de especies frutales. Optimización de estrategias naturales. MEC, PN, AGL2003-05318-C02-01. Responsible: Herrero.


Consolidated Research Group, acknowledged by the Aragón Regional Government (A43). Biología del desarrollo y material vegetal en frutales. DGA. Responsible: Herrero.


Contract for “Selección de variedades polinizadoras y altenativas al problema del cuajado del níspero”. Cooperativa Agrícola de Callosa D'En Sarriá (Alicante). Responsible: Herrero.


Contract for “Instalación y puesta en funcionamiento de un laboratorio comercial de micropropagación de patrones frutales”. Viveros Provedo, S.A. (La Rioja). Responsible: Marín.


Contract for “Instalación y puesta en funcionamiento de un laboratorio comercial de micropropagación de frutales”. Viveros Carlicos (Huesca). Responsible: Marín.


Contract for “Mejora de portainjertos de frutal y aplicación de cultivo in vitro para su multiplicación”. Viveros Provedo, S.A. (La Rioja). Responsible: Marín.

  Estación Experimental Aula Dei: Avda. Montañana 1.005. Zaragoza. E-50059 (ESPAÑA). TEL: (+34) 976 716 100. FAX: (+34) 976 716 145