A Glance at the History of Researches on Temperate Fruits in Iran
The plateau of Iran and its surrounding areas has long been the center of genetic diversity and production of various types of temperate fruit trees such as grapes, apples, pears, quinces, cherries, apricots, almonds and Persian walnuts. Perhaps the history of fruit tree cultivation in this territory can be considered as dating back to the settlement of the first civilizations in its various regions. Based on this, the selection of the superior types and genotypes of the various species of temperate fruit trees has been done by many ancient civilizations and empires of this land and several hundreds of the native cultivars of fruit trees are currently available in different regions of the plateau of Iran. All activities of the first civilizations of this territory on selections of the superior genotypes of the temperate fruit trees can be considered as informal research in the field of fruit trees, but research on selection and breeding of temperate fruit trees officially has a history of more than 60 years in Iran. The first researches on the temperate fruit trees in Iran were initiated in "Agriculture College" under administration of Agriculture Ministry in Karaj about 1950. Subsequently, the research activities of this College continued under the management of the University of Tehran from 1979 onwards and the researches were shifted to "Fruit Breeding Office" of the Ministry. The office covered all research activities on all horticultural products including fruits, vegetables, potato, ornamental plants, citrus fruits and tea. Following establishment of "Seed and Plant Improvement Institute" (SPII) in year 1960, horticultural research activities were shifted to “Horticultural Research Department of SPII" with three individual discipline of Temperate Fruits, Subtropical Fruits and Vegetables/Potato. In 1971 and 1980, Vegetables and Potato Research Department, during 1992-1996, Pistachio Research Department, Dates and Citrus Research Departments or Institutes and in 2001, Ornamental Plants Research Department were separated from Horticultural Research Department and their related activities continued in individual institutions. Finally, In 2015, all horticultural research activities were rejoined in "Horticultural Sciences Research Institute" (HSRI) and individual centers allocated to each product. Currently, Temperate Fruits Research Center (TFRC) is consisted of three departments, including Genetics & Breeding, Physiology and Production Technology, Post-Harvest Technology, with more than 80 researchers and 26 local research stations across the various temperate provinces of Iran.