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This review endeavours to collect all recent and substantial contributions to the quickly deepening fields of tree fruit self-incompatibility studies and hence updating previously published reviews. Studies carried out to discover the molecular basis of gametophytic self-incompatibility are summarized and a newly described model for the solanaceous plants is also outlined. We describe recent findings in all economically important fruit tree crops involving apple, European pear, sweet and sour cherries, almond, Japanese plum, sloe, Japanese apricot, European apricot and peach. Additional DNA sequences are now available for both the pistil and pollen component genes in several species and their molecular, evolutionary or economic implications are discussed in the light of the fruit setting behaviour.