Scientists have cracked the genetic codes of wild strawberries, as well as a certain type of cacao used to make chocolate. The new information should help breeders develop better varieties of mainstream crops.
“Because farmers have been crossbreeding and hybridizing food crops for centuries to improve traits, they tend to have large complicated genomes but the wild strawberry’s is relatively small so we can get access to all of these useful genes comparatively easily,” said Dan Sargent of BBSRC Crop Science Initiative.
Todd Mockler of Oregon State University explained that “this will accelerate research that will lead to improved crops, particularly commercial strawberries. It could lead to fruit that resists pests, smells better, tolerates heat, requires less fertilizer, has a longer shelf life, tastes better and has an improved appearance.”