New research expands genetic base of cultivated strawberry

Jan 18, 2011

Today's most common cultivated strawberry, the familiar Fragaria x vananassa (F. xananassa), is believed to have resulted from a chance hybridization of two wild strawberry species in Europe more than 250 years ago. This hybridization combined the unique characteristics of both species, including the larger, firmer fruit of F. chiloensis with the darker red, more aromatic fruit of F. virginiana. The fact that F. xananassa has a narrow germplasm base has breeding ramifications. The species tolerates inbreeding poorly, and its low genetic diversity leaves the strawberry susceptible to disease and abiotic and biotic stresses.

In an attempt to increase the genetic base of F. xananassa and introduce novel into the cultivated , James Hancock and colleagues from the Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University, the University of Minnesota, and the USDA-ARS in Oregon designed an experiment that crossed elite clones of the two wild species, then hybridized them to produce 26 reconstructed populations. A full report of the study appears in .

In the study, 78 individuals resulting from the cross of F. chiloensis and F. virginiana were evaluated for their seasonal flowering patterns, inflorescence number, inflorescence height, crown production, flower number, fruit size, yield, internal color, soluble solids, fruit firmness, and plant vigor. The scientists concluded that the reconstruction of F. xananassa by crossing elite genotypes of F. chiloensis and F. virginiana appears to be an effective strategy for strawberry improvement. They found that, although none of the examined FVC11 genotypes are of commercial quality, many have characteristics superior to their parents.

According to the study, there are still questions about whether intercrossing within the reconstructed populations will yield new cultivars. "Although the fruit size in the best FVC11 genotypes is far superior to any wild germplasm, it is still smaller than commercial size", Hancock noted, adding that the FVC11 population evaluated would be a "great tool" to breeders wishing to introduce novel genetic diversity into their breeding programs.

The team is currently expanding this population to increase the chances of acquiring genotypes with even more positive combinations of traits.

Explore further: York's anti-malarial plant given Chinese approval

More information: The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site: hortsci.ashspublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/45/8/1140

Related Stories

'TRAP' preserves genetic properties of popular geranium

Nov 05, 2007

Reseachers at The Ohio State University have demonstrated that Target Region Amplification Polymorphism, or TRAP, is an effective method for preserving the important genetic diversity of ornamental flower collections.

Conserving historic apple trees

Nov 04, 2009

The apple trees of yesteryear are slowly disappearing. Many apple varieties common in the United States a century ago can no longer be found in today's orchards and nurseries. But some historic apple trees ...

Recommended for you

York's anti-malarial plant given Chinese approval

11 hours ago

A new hybrid plant used in anti-malarial drug production, developed by scientists at the University of York's Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP), is now registered as a new variety in China.

The appeal of being anti-GMO

16 hours ago

A team of Belgian philosophers and plant biotechnologists have turned to cognitive science to explain why opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has become so widespread, despite positive contributions ...

Chinese team performs gene editing on human embryo

Apr 23, 2015

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers in China has announced that they have performed gene editing on human embryos. In their paper uploaded to the open access site Protein & Cell (after being rejected by Nat ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.