UF/IFAS scientists have identified the genes that control strawberry flavor that enhance taste for a more appetizing strawberry.

Florida is one of the major strawberry-growing states in the country; The Sunshine State growing 11,000 acres of strawberries worth $400 million and supplying most of the strawberries for sale in the winter. According to a Specialty Crop Industry article, two UF/IFAS scientists have been studying the genes that affect strawberry flavor and aroma to aid in the efforts to grow a tastier berry. Se the details below.

Identifying Genes That Control Strawberry Flavor

According to the article, a 2016 study showed that consumers are looking for taste and freshness when they buy strawberries. This research into identifying the genes that affect strawberry flavor will be a boon to breeding strawberries with those genes that deliver superior flavor and aroma.

Vance Whitaker, a UF/IFAS professor of horticultural sciences at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center and co-author of the study, said in the article, “Finding the genes that bring out the aroma is a big step forward in understanding the genetics of flavor. With this knowledge, we are developing tools such as DNA markers to breed more efficiently for flavor.”

Whitaker and Seonghee Lee, the other co-author and also a UF/IFAS professor of horticultural sciences at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, studied over 300 types of strawberries with different scents to measure the berries’ chemical composition and sequence the DNA of each strawberry, which is about 100,000 genes per berry. With the genes identified, the researchers can refine the use of DNA markers in strawberry seedlings that already occurs.

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