The production and consumption of nuts are increasing in the world due to strong economic returns and the nutritional value of their products. With the increasing role and importance given to nuts (i.e., walnuts, hazelnut, pistachio, pecan, almond) in a balanced and healthy diet and in the prevention of various diseases, breeding of the nuts species has also been stepped up. Most recent fruit breeding programs have focused on scion genetic improvement. However, the use of locally adapted grafted rootstocks also enhanced the productivity and quality of tree fruit crops. Grafting is an ancient horticultural practice use in nut crops to manipulate scion phenotype and productivity and overcome biotic and abiotic stresses. There are complex rootstock breeding objectives and physiological and molecular aspects of rootstock–scion interactions in nut crops. In this review, we provide an overview of these, considering the mechanisms involved in nutrient and water uptake, regulation of phytohormones, and rootstock influences on the scion molecular processes, including long-distance gene silencing and trans-grafting. Understanding the mechanisms resulting from rootstock × scion × environmental interactions will contribute to developing new rootstocks with resilience in the face of climate change, but also of the multitude of diseases and pests and of the possible increase of their aggressiveness. They will also have to offer the premises of economic production, respectively yield and the quality, according to multiple destinations of nuts in the current consumption and food industry, but also the increasing exigencies of the consumer market and the profile industry.
Almond; Persian walnut; Pistachio; Hazelnut; Pecan; Chestnut; grafting; graft compatibility
LIFE SCIENCES, Genetics
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