Researchers look to develop heat resistant broccoli

Traditionally, broccoli is a cool-weather crop but Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are looking to change that by developing varieties that grow in warm temperatures.

ARS plant geneticist Mark Farnham and his team in Charleston, South Carolina, have developed and characterized the genetic sources of broccoli's heat tolerance. Theoretical and Applied Genetics published these results in March 2017.

The team, led by ARS geneticist Sandra Branham, evaluated a group of broccoli plants Farnham developed for the ability to tolerate heat stress and identified genetic markers associated with heat resistance.

An important finding from this research is that the resistance trait is controlled by many genes. Now, public and private broccoli breeders are interested in using these markers to help speed development of heat-tolerant broccoli.

Encountering high temperatures is the main factor limiting where and when broccoli is grown. Heat-tolerant broccoli will expand future growing possibilities, helping to meet demand for this nutritious vegetable.


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