Carrot gene sequencing "adds to the breeding toolbox"

An international consortium has decoded the carrot genome, revealing that genes which make them orange are also key to their nutritional value, but not to their flavour.

Image: Rob Bertholf
Image: Rob Bertholf

University of Wisconsin–Madison horticulture professor and geneticist Phil Simon, who led the research team, said: "Now we have the chance to dig deeper and it's a nice addition to the toolbox for improving the crop."

Co-author Allen Van Deynze, Seed Biotechnology Center director of research at the University of California, Davis, added: "This was an important public-private project, and the genomic information has already been made available to assist in improving carrot traits such as enhanced levels of beta-carotene, drought tolerance and disease resistance. Going forward, the genome will serve as the basis for molecular breeding of the carrot."

The study reveals that genes for colour and genes associated with preferred flavours are not connected, and that early breeders' preference for orange carrots was fortuitous as the beta-carotene pigments are what make them nutritious, Simon explained.

"The accumulation of orange pigments is an accumulation that normally wouldn't happen," he said. "It's a repurposing of genes plants usually use when growing in light."

The study is published this week in Nature Genetics.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Buoyant demand for UK apples but frost and labour remain concerns

Buoyant demand for UK apples but frost and labour remain concerns

As the British apple season begins, English Apples & Pears (EAP) is warning that growers will feel the effects of both a late frost in spring and also constrained labour supply.

Tomorrow's tractors

Tomorrow's tractors

These machines have advanced rapidly over recent years but what does the future hold? Sally Drury looks ahead.

Tractors for growers

Tractors for growers

The latest specialist tractors are providing wider choice for growers working in narrow rows, Sally Drury reports.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production
 

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon