AbstractPears (Pyrus) represent an important part of consumer diets, and have the fourth highest production of non-citrus fruits, measured by fresh weight, in the U.S. They are maintained clonally and grown as composite plants, consisting of a scion (fruit bearing) cultivar grafted onto a rootstock cultivar. Up to 98% of existing production relies on only a few scion and rootstock cultivars, leaving the standing crop vulnerable to threats. Pears are faced with a wide range of biotic and abiotic threats and production vulnerabilities, some of which can be limited by integrating resistance and horticultural traits from wild and cultivated materials from around the world. The National Clonal Germplasm Repository (NCGR Corvallis), part of the USDA-ARS National Plant Germplasm System, maintains a large Pyrus collection from across the globe, consisting of 2793 Pyrus accessions from 37 species. The collection represents an important resource for preservation, research, and breeding efforts for pears. The crop vulnerability status of pears in the U.S. is currently moderate to high, with increasing threats and challenges. Breeding and preservation efforts, along with genetic, crop protection and production research are, however, actively targeting these needs.

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