Felicidad Fernández Fernández

Senior Fruit Breeder
01732 523739 / 07910 657970

Research interests

Feli is an agronomist by training and a geneticist by passion; her job as a plant breeding is the perfect marriage of both vocations. In Feli's role at NIAB, she has overall responsibility for breeding and variety development in raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, haskaps and rootstocks for apple and pear. Main roles include designing of breeding strategies and crossing programmes, seedling selection, evaluation of trials, designing of screening techniques for pest and disease resistance, integration of marker assisted breeding into the improvement programmes. That final role informs her research interests; pest and disease interactions with the crops she breeds and the identification of markers for pest and disease resistance as well as other agronomic traits of interest that can be deployed to speed up and/or improve efficiency in commercial breeding. Characterisation and utilisation of plant genetic resources and wild crop relatives for breeding is also a keen interest of Feli's.

Feli is part of the supervisory team for the following CTP FCR PhD projects:

Combining root architecture, root function and soil management to improve production efficiency and quality of apples (2017-2021) – Magda Cobo-Medina (University of Nottingham)

Investigating durable resistance to Phytophthora cactorum in strawberry and apple (2018 -2022) – Matteo Luberti (University of Reading)

Resistance and susceptibility in interactions between apple and woolly aphids (2019 – 2023) – Cindayniah Godfrey

Research projects

East Malling Rubus Breeding Consortium. Duration: 2015-2025. Partners: Industry consortium. Funders: Commercial

East Malling Rootstock Club. Duration: 2008-2020 (currently under negotiations for renewal). Partners: AHDB and Industry consortium. Funders: Commercial


F Fernández (2019) Rubus plant named ‘emr 20171’. United States Plant Patent US PP31197 P3

F Fernández (2019) Rubus plant named ‘emr 20172’. United States Plant Patent US PP31196 P3

Deakin G, Fernández-Fernández F, Bennett J, Passey T, Harrison N, Tilston EL, Xu X (2019) The effect of rotating apple rootstock genotypes on apple replant disease and rhizosphere microbiome. Phytobiomes Journal 3: 273-285

Cockerton HM, Blanco Unzueta M, Johnson AW, Vadillo Dieguez A; Fernández Fernández  F (2020) Pathway analysis to determine factors contributing to overall quality scores in four berry crops. Journal of Horticultural Research vol. 28(2): 35–42

Biello R, Singh A, Godfrey CJ, Fernández Fernández F, Mugford ST, Powell G, Hogenhout SA, Mathers TC (2021) A chromosome-level genome assembly of the woolly apple aphid, Eriosoma lanigerum (Hausmann) (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Molecular Ecology Resources 21:316–326

Full publication list on ResearchGate and Google Scholar.