Genetics, genomics and breeding

Horticultural genetics at NIAB is centred around the development of resilient, sustainable varieties of key fruit crops with outstanding fruit quality to serve the UK and global horticultural markets. NIAB has world-leading perennial plant breeders, with over 100 years collective experience between them. Harnessing their wealth of knowledge and experience, and combining it with the application of cutting-edge breeding, molecular genetics and genomics tools puts fruit breeding at NIAB at the forefront of commercially successful variety development.

The mission, vision and strategy for the department are:

To develop industry-leading varieties of horticultural crops using cutting-edge tools and methodologies

For our varieties to be the dominant genetics in the global soft-fruit and tree-fruit markets


  • Delivery of excellence
  • Professionalism and development
  • Supporting with integrity and respect.


  • Develop commercially successful, resilient new varieties of strawberry, raspberry, apple and cherry
  • Incorporate relevant current research findings, techniques and tools into the breeding process, including marker deployment, to maximise efficiency and genetic gain over years
  • Develop a path to the incorporation of next-generation breeding technologies into the breeding process to increase genetic gain and achieve high efficiency in meeting breeding targets
  • Conduct relevant, high quality genetics research that supports our breeding targets and successful variety development
  • Conduct foundational genetics, genomics and molecular biology research that will deliver breakthroughs in knowledge and understanding surrounding traits of importance to variety development in our fruit crop species.