Kiwifruit (Actinidia spp.) Breeding

  • Zac HanleyEmail author


Kiwifruit are the first representatives of the genus Actinidia to be domesticated and the most recent fruit to be globally commercialized. They present challenges to breeders and orchardists due to long juvenility, dioecy, high heterozygosity, multiple ploidies and climbing growth habit. The first cultivars were selections from the wild or open-pollinated varieties but, since breeding began in New Zealand in the 1970s, progress has been made in several countries. Yellow-fleshed and red-fleshed kiwifruit are now found alongside the original green-fleshed varieties. Global production has increased significantly in recent years, as have the number of cultivars available in some countries. However, many commercially important and globally distributed Actinidia cultivars remain vulnerable to the bacterial canker of kiwifruit pandemic caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae. The molecular genetics revolution is poised to accelerate the development of new cultivars now that the Actinidia genome sequences and low-cost genotyping are becoming available. Conventional breeding is already augmented by marker-assisted selection and now genomic selection will be applied in kiwifruit and their smaller berry-like relatives. The results will soon provide consumers worldwide with a range of appealing flavors, colors, health benefits and fruit formats from the Actinidia genus.


Kiwifruit Actinidia Breeding Domestication Marker-assisted selection Genomic selection 



I thank Ross Ferguson, Paul Datson, Ron Beatson, Stuart Kay, Catherine Langford, and Sarah Knowles for improving this manuscript. The support of the Institute of Plant & Food Research New Zealand is acknowledged.


  1. Akagi T, Henry IM, Ohtani H et al (2018) A Y-encoded suppressor of feminization arose via lineage-specific duplication of a cytokinin response regulator in kiwifruit. The Plant Cell 30(4):780–795.
  2. Aliloo H, Pryce JE, González-Recio O et al (2017) Including nonadditive genetic effects in mating programs to maximize dairy farm profitability. J Dairy Sci 100(2):1203–1222. Scholar
  3. Belhaj K, Chaparro-Garcia A, Kamoun S et al (2013) Plant genome editing made easy: targeted mutagenesis in model and crop plants using the crispr/cas system. Plant Meth 9(1):39. Scholar
  4. Bernardo R (2016) Bandwagons I, too, have known. Theor Appl Genet 129(12):2323–2332. Scholar
  5. Bhat JA, Ali S, Salgotra RK et al (2016) Genomic selection in the era of next generation sequencing for complex traits in plant breeding. Front Genet 7 (221).
  6. Birnie D, Livesey A (2014) Lessons learned from the response to psa-v. kiwifruit vine health, Published online at
  7. Broertjes C (1966) Mutation breeding of chrysanthemums. Euphy 15(2):156–162. Scholar
  8. Burghardt LT, Young ND, Tiffin P (2017) A guide to genome-wide association mapping in plants. Curr Prot Plant Biol 2:22–38. Scholar
  9. Cheng C-H (2014) Inheritance of resistance to pseudomonas syringae pv. Actinidiae and genetic correlations with fruit characters in a diploid Actinidia chinensis (kiwifruit) population. Euphy 198 (2):305–315.
  10. Cheng C, Day S (2013) Genetic study on fruit storage life in a disconnected factorial mating population of Actinidia chinensis (kiwifruit). Acta Horticulturae 976:377–382.
  11. Cheng CH, Seal AG, Boldingh HL et al (2004) Inheritance of taste characters and fruit size and number in a diploid Actinidia chinensis (kiwifruit) population. Euphy 138(2):185–195. Scholar
  12. Cheng C-H, Datson PM, Hanley Z (2016) Genome-based breeding. In: Testolin R, Huang H-W, Ferguson AR (eds) The kiwifruit genome. Springer International Publishing, Switzerland, pp 249–257.
  13. Clark SA, Hickey JM, Daetwyler HD et al (2012) The importance of information on relatives for the prediction of genomic breeding values and the implications for the makeup of reference data sets in livestock breeding schemes. Genet Sel Evol 44(1):4. Scholar
  14. Costa G, Ferguson AR (2015) Bacterial canker of kiwifruit: response to a threat. Acta Hort 1095:27–40. Scholar
  15. Couldrey C, Keehan M, Johnson T et al (2017) Detection and assessment of copy number variation using pacbio long-read and illumina sequencing in New Zealand dairy cattle. J Dairy Sci 100(7):5472–5478. Scholar
  16. Crowhurst RN, Gleave AP, MacRae EA et al (2008) Analysis of expressed sequence tags from actinidia: applications of a cross species est database for gene discovery in the areas of flavor, health, color and ripening. BMC Genom 9(1):351. Scholar
  17. Crowhurst R, Liu Y, Scaglione D (2016) The kiwifruit genome. In: Testolin R, Huang H-W, Ferguson AR (eds) The kiwifruit genome. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp 101–114.
  18. Daetwyler HD, Pong-Wong R, Villanueva B et al (2010) The impact of genetic architecture on genome-wide evaluation methods. Genet 185.
  19. Daetwyler HD, Calus MPL, Pong-Wong R et al (2013) Genomic prediction in animals and plants: simulation of data, validation, reporting, and benchmarking. Genet 193(2):347–365. Scholar
  20. Datson P, Nardozza S, Manako K et al (2015) Monitoring the Actinidia germplasm for resistance to Pseudomonas syringae pv. Actinidiae. Acta Hort 1095:181–184. Scholar
  21. Datson P, Barron L, Manako K et al (in press) The application of whole genome selection to kiwifruit breeding. Acta HortGoogle Scholar
  22. Desta ZA, Ortiz R (2014) Genomic selection: genome-wide prediction in plant improvement. Trends Plant Sci 19(9):592–601. Scholar
  23. Elshire RJ, Glaubitz JC, Sun Q et al (2011) A robust, simple genotyping-by-sequencing (gbs) approach for high diversity species. PLoS ONE 6(5):e19379. Scholar
  24. Faville MJ, Ganesh S, Moraga R et al (2016) Development of genomic selection for perennial ryegrass. In: Roldán-Ruiz I, Baert J, Reheul D (eds) Breeding in a world of scarcity: proceedings of the 2015 meeting of the section “forage crops and amenity grasses” of eucarpia. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp 139–143.
  25. Ferguson AR (2005) Why were kiwifruit initially successful only in New Zealand? In: ISHS, Leuven, Belgium, pp 223–227.
  26. Ferguson AR (2016) World economic importance. In: Testolin R, Huang H-W, Ferguson AR (eds) The kiwifruit genome. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp 37–42.
  27. Ferguson AR, Bollard EG (1990) Domestication of the kiwifruit. In: Warrington IJ, Weston GC (eds) Kiwifruit: science and management. Ray Richards in association with the New Zealand Society of Horticultural Science, Auckland, pp 165–246Google Scholar
  28. Ferguson AR, Huang H (2007) Genetic resources of kiwifruit: domestication and breeding. Hort Rev 33:1–121. Scholar
  29. Ferguson AR, Seal AG (2008) Kiwifruit. In: Hancock JF (ed) Temperate fruit crop breeding: germplasm to genomics. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, pp 235–264.
  30. Ferguson AR, Wu J-H (2016) Interploid and interspecific hybridization for kiwifruit improvement. In: Mason AS (ed) Polyploidy and hybridization for crop improvement. CRC Press, Boca Raton, p 490Google Scholar
  31. Fraser L, Tsang G, Datson P et al (2009) A gene-rich linkage map in the dioecious species Actinidia chinensis (kiwifruit) reveals putative x/y sex-determining chromosomes. BMC Genom 10.
  32. Fraser LG, Datson PM, Tsang GK et al (2015) Characterisation, evolutionary trends and mapping of putative resistance and defence genes in Actinidia (kiwifruit). Tree Genet Genom 11(2):21. Scholar
  33. Froud KJ, Everett KR, Tyson JL et al (2015) Review of the risk factors associated with kiwifruit bacterial canker caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. Actinidiae. N Z Plant Protect 68:313–327Google Scholar
  34. Gill GP, Harvey CF, Gardner RC et al (1998) Development of sex-linked pcr markers for gender identification in Actinidia. Theor Appl Genet 97(3):439–445. Scholar
  35. Goddard ME (2017) Can we make genomic selection 100% accurate? J Anim Breed Genet 134(4):287–288. Scholar
  36. Gustafson H (2016) Marker assisted selection of sex determination in kiwiberry (Actinidia arguta and Actinidia kolomikta). Masters, University of New Hampshire, USAGoogle Scholar
  37. Hilario E, Barron L, Deng CH et al (2015) Random tagging genotyping by sequencing (rtgbs), an unbiased approach to locate restriction enzyme sites across the target genome. PLoS ONE 10(12):e0143193. Scholar
  38. Huang H (2016a) Main cultivars in commercial production. In: Kiwifruit. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 239–263. doi:
  39. Huang H (2016b) Natural distribution of genus Actinidia. In: Kiwifruit. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 169–190. doi:
  40. Huang H (2016c) Systematics and genetic variation of Actinidia. In: Kiwifruit. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 9–44. doi:
  41. Huang H, Wang S, Jiang Z et al (2003) Exploration of Actinidia genetic resources and development of kiwifruit industry in China. Acta Hort 610:29–43. Scholar
  42. Huang S, Ding J, Deng D et al (2013) Draft genome of the kiwifruit Actinidia chinensis. Nat Comm 4.
  43. Jannink J-L (2010) Dynamics of long-term genomic selection. Genet Sel Evol 42(1):35. Scholar
  44. Kharkwal MC, Pandey RN, Pawar SE (2004) Mutation breeding for crop improvement. In: Jain HK, Kharkwal MC (eds) Plant breeding: Mendelian to molecular approaches. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, pp 601–645.
  45. Kim C, Guo H, Kong W et al (2016) Application of genotyping by sequencing technology to a variety of crop breeding programs. Plant Sci 242:14–22. Scholar
  46. Kumar S, Chagné D, Bink MCAM et al (2012) Genomic selection for fruit quality traits in apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.). PLoS ONE 7(5):e36674. Scholar
  47. Kwong QB, Ong AL, Teh CK et al (2017) Genomic selection in commercial perennial crops: applicability and improvement in oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.). Sci Rep 7(1):2872.
  48. Li D, Liu Y (2016) Gene introgression from wild relatives. In: Testolin R, Huang H-W, Ferguson AR (eds) The kiwifruit genome. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp 237–248.
  49. Li MZ, Lowe RG (2007) Survey of wild Actinidia from Yangtze River regionGoogle Scholar
  50. Li JQ, Li XW, Soejarto DD (2007) A revision of the genus Actinidia from China. Acta Hort 753:41–44. Scholar
  51. Lin Z, Shi F, Hayes BJ et al (2017) Mitigation of inbreeding while preserving genetic gain in genomic breeding programs for outbred plants. Theor Appl Genet 130(5):969–980. Scholar
  52. Liu G, Zhao Y, Gowda M et al (2016) Predicting hybrid performances for quality traits through genomic-assisted approaches in central European wheat. PLoS ONE 11(7):e0158635. Scholar
  53. Liu Y, Li D, Zhang Q et al (2017) Rapid radiations of both kiwifruit hybrid lineages and their parents shed light on a two-layer mode of species diversification. New Phytol 215(2):877–890. Scholar
  54. McNeilage MA, Steinhagen S (1998) Flower and fruit characters in a kiwifruit hermaphrodite. Euphy 101(1):69–72. Scholar
  55. Meuwissen THE, Hayes BJ, Goddard ME (2001) Prediction of total genetic value using genome-wide dense marker maps. Genetics 157(4):1819–1829PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  56. Montefiori M, McGhie TK, Costa G et al (2005) Pigments in the fruit of red-fleshed kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis and Actinidia deliciosa). J Agric Food Chem 53(24):9526–9530. Scholar
  57. Mu SK, Fraser LG, Harvey CF (1990) Rescue of hybrid embryos of Actinidia species. Sci Hort 44(1):97–106. Scholar
  58. NZ KiwiBerry Growers Inc. (2017) What is kiwiberry? NZ KiwiBerry Growers Inc.
  59. Pathirana R, Deroles S, Hoeata K et al (2016) Fast-tracking kiwifruit breeding through mutagenesis. Acta Hort 1127:217–222. Scholar
  60. Pilkington S, Crowhurst R, Hilario E et al (2018) A manually edited Actinidia chinensis var. chinensis (kiwifruit) genome highlights the challenges associated with draft genomes and gene prediction in plants. BMC Genomics 19:257.
  61. Piveta G, Ferreira MA, Muniz MFB et al (2016) Ceratocystis fimbriata on kiwifruit (Actinidia spp.) in Brazil. N Z J Crop Hort Sci 44(1):13–24.
  62. Sakellariou MA, Mavromatis AG, Adimargono S et al (2016) Agronomic, cytogenetic and molecular studies on hermaphroditism and self-compatibility in the Greek kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa) cultivar ‘tsechelidis’. J Hort Sci Biotech 91(1):2–13. Scholar
  63. Sale PR, Lyford PB (1990) Cultural, management and harvesting practices for kiwifruit in New Zealand. In: Warrington IJ, Weston GC (eds) Kiwifruit science and management. Ray Richards in association with the New Zealand Society for Horticultural Science, Auckland, pp 247–296Google Scholar
  64. Scaglione D, Fornasiero A, Pinto C et al (2015) A rad-based linkage map of kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis pl.) as a tool to improve the genome assembly and to scan the genomic region of the gender determinant for the marker-assisted breeding. Tree Genet Genom 11(6):1–10.
  65. Seal AG, Ferguson AR, de Silva HN et al (2012) The effect of 2n gametes on sex ratios in Actinidia. Sex Plant Reprod 25(3):197–203. Scholar
  66. Shen X-S, Wan J-Z, Luo W-Y et al (1990) Preliminary results of using in vitro axillary and adventitious buds in mutation breeding of Chinese gooseberry. Euphy 49(1):77–82. Scholar
  67. Spindel J, Begum H, Akdemir D et al (2016) Genome-wide prediction models that incorporate de novo GWAS are a powerful new tool for tropical rice improvement. Hered 116(4):395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Tait A, Paul V, Sood A et al (2017) Potential impact of climate change on hayward kiwifruit production viability in New Zealand. N Z J Crop Hort Sci:1–23.
  69. Tanksley SD, McCouch SR (1997) Seed banks and molecular maps: unlocking genetic potential from the wild. Sci 277 (5329):1063Google Scholar
  70. Testolin R, Cipriani G (2016) Markers, maps, and marker-assisted selection. In: Testolin R, Huang H-W, Ferguson AR (eds) The kiwifruit genome. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp 85–99.
  71. Testolin R, Cipriani G, Costa G (1995) Sex segregation ratio and gender expression in the genus Actinidia. Sex Plant Reprod 8(3):129–132. Scholar
  72. Testolin R, Huang WG, Lain O et al (2001) A kiwifruit (Actinidia spp.) linkage map based on microsatellites and integrated with aflp markers. Theor Appl Genet 103(1):30–36. Scholar
  73. Tiezzi F, de los Campos G, Parker Gaddis KL et al (2017) Genotype by environment (climate) interaction improves genomic prediction for production traits in US holstein cattle. J Dairy Sci 100(3):2042–2056.
  74. Vanneste JL (2015) Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae: the pathogen that brings us together. Acta Hort 1095:21–23. Scholar
  75. Vanneste JL (2017) The scientific, economic, and social impacts of the New Zealand outbreak of bacterial canker of kiwifruit (Pseudomonas syringae pv. Actinidiae). Ann Rev Phytopath 55(1):377–399.
  76. Vanneste JL, Poliakoff F, Audusseau C et al (2011) First report of Pseudomonas syringae pv. Actinidiae, the causal agent of bacterial canker of kiwifruit in France. Plant Dis 95(10):1311. Scholar
  77. Wang M, Li M, Meng A (2003) Selection of a new red-fleshed kiwifruit cultivar ‘Hongyang’. Acta Hort 610:115–117. Scholar
  78. Wiggans GR, Cole JB, Hubbard SM et al (2017) Genomic selection in dairy cattle: the USDA experience. Ann Rev Anim Biosci 5(1):309–327. Scholar
  79. Williams MH, Boyd LM, McNeilage MA et al (2003) Development and commercialization of ‘baby kiwi’ (Actinidia arguta Planch.). Acta Hort 610:81–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Wu J-H, Ferguson AR, Murray BG et al (2012) Induced polyploidy dramatically increases the size and alters the shape of fruit in actinidia chinensis. Ann Bot 109(1):169–179. Scholar
  81. Xiao Z, Han B (1996) Interspecific somatic hybrids in Actinidia. Acta Bot Sin 39(12):1110–1117Google Scholar
  82. Xiao Z-A, Wan L-C, Han B-W (2004) An interspecific somatic hybrid between Actinidia chinensis and Actinidia kolomikta and its chilling tolerance. Plant Cell Tiss Org Cult 79(3):299–306. Scholar
  83. Zimin AV, Puiu D, Hall R et al (2017) The first near-complete assembly of the hexaploid bread wheat genome, Triticum aestivum. Gigasci 6(11):1–7. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Institute of Plant and Food Research New Zealand LimitedAucklandNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations