A new gene involved in strawberry fruiting time is identified

December 04, 2019

Their great taste and their health benefits have made them one of the most popular fruits. The world market for strawberries, rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, was greater than 9 millon tons in 2016. According to the latest report by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Spain is the top producer of this food within the European Union, while China and the U.S. are the largest producers worldwide.

Recently, a University of Cordoba research group, in partnership with the USDA, identified a new gene involved in the fruiting duration of this fruit. As explained by the researcher leading the project at UCO, Patricia Castro, there are some strawberry genotypes that produce fruit just once a year, whereas others bear fruit several times over a longer period of time, hence their strawberry production cycle is longer. Understanding how this trait is regulated and inherited is key to increasing efficiency in improvement programs.

This research, published in BMC Plant Biology, specifically studied the genetic mechanisms in charge of making some strawberry varieties produce fruit over a longer period of time. In order to do so, they crossed different strawberry genotypes and analyzed how to segregate this trait in their offspring. In addition, they characterized all the genotypes with molecular markers associated with this trait.

Up to now, as pointed out by researcher Patricia Castro, it was thought that there was only one gene in charge of a longer strawberry fruiting period. Now, and in view of the results, the study concluded that, besides that gene, there is at least one other gene involved in the process.

Though this DNA sequence has not been isolated yet (to do so performing a later study would be necessary), the research was able to determine which gene acts as the suppressor, as in which gene suppresses the ability for the plant to fruit for a longer time. "We observed that some of the families we analyzed have a molecular profile corresponding to genotypes of longer fruiting periods, but only bear fruit once due to the involvement of this gene", points out Castro.

A new opportunity for genetic improvement

Having demonstrated that there is more than one gene involved in the fruiting process of strawberry plants means "that the way we approach genetic improvement will change", says Patricia Castro. For now, the finding gives greater insight into the fruiting mechanism of one of the world's most popular berries but there is still a long way to go. New molecular markers must be developed that allow for the identification of desired traits in plant material and thus, strawberry varieties can be developed more efficiently.

The aim is to lengthen the production period and market this popular fruit, that used to be a sign of spring starting but is now more and more common to be eaten all year round.
-end-


University of Córdoba

Related Food Articles from Brightsurf:

Brain region tracking food preferences could steer our food choices
Researchers discovered that a specific brain region monitors food preferences as they change across thirsty and quenched states.

Rates of food insecurity remain high despite expansion of NYC food assistance programs
In the latest COVID-19 tracking survey from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy conducted from September 25 to 27, 34% of the sample of one thousand New York City adults reported that their households had received SNAP benefits since September 1st, 2020.

Food mechanics recipe to serve up healthy food that lasts
Researchers are investigating the science of food drying to design faster, cheaper and better ways to store food.

Economic and food supply chain disruptions endanger global food security
COVID-19 has led to a global economic slowdown that is affecting all four pillars of food security - availability, access, utilization, and stability.

'Building wealth and health network' reduces food insecurity without providing food
As the coronavirus pandemic forces so many to reckon with growing food insecurity and increased health challenges, the Building Wealth and Health Network program of Drexel University's Center for Hunger-Free Communities is reducing food insecurity and improving mental health - without distributing any food or medicine.

Novel DNA analysis will help to identify food origin and counterfeit food in the future
Estonian scientists are developing a DNA-based method of analysis that enables them to identify food components and specify the origin of a foodstuff.

Holders of negative opinions towards GM food likely to be against other novel food tech
Scientists at NTU Singapore and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health have found that people who hold negative opinions of genetically-modified (GM) food are likely to feel the same about nano-enabled food -- food with nano-additives to enhance flavor, nutrition or prolong shelf life.

UMD researchers seek to reduce food waste and establish the science of food date labeling
Minimizing food waste is top of mind right now during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Territorial short food supply chains foster food democracy and sustainability
A University of Cordoba study analyzed the governance mechanisms in territorial short food supply chains in Córdoba and Bogotá.

First study on human-grade dog food says whole, fresh food is highly digestible
some pet food companies are developing diets that more closely resemble human food, incorporating human-grade meat and vegetable ingredients that pass USDA quality inspections.

Read More: Food News and Food Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.