Researchers from University of Maryland, USA have isolated a gene that controls flowering and runnering behavior, which can be altered to help improve plant development and make less productive varieties more commercially viable. The results are published in Molecular Plant.
According to Professor Zhongchi Liu of the University of Maryland, a co-author of the research, a typical strawberry variety produce berries once per year, while ever-bearers have more produce because they can produce multiple harvests in a year. However, ever-bearers are unpopular for farmers because they are poor runners, thus, hard to propagate. If scientists can find a way to improve runner production in ever-bearers, it could help boost the production of strawberries. Researcher Julie Caruana, who is also part of Liu’s team, said that they have identified one gene involved in the process, and with more research, they could determine what other genes are linked to the system and how they interact with each other.