Dr Graham Clarkson, Director of Breeding, Edward Vinson Ltd.

Dr Graham Clarkson, Director of Breeding

Accelerating Strawberry Breeding to Maintain Competitiveness

Edward Vinson have been growing fruit for 150 years and almost four decades ago began a breeding programme that has seen a range of successful releases including the market leading strawberry varieties Eves Delight and Sweet Eve.

With increasing pressures on the soft fruit industry brought about by higher labour and fertiliser costs as well as by changes in seasonal predictability, there is a need to collapse the breeding cycle to get appropriate varieties to market as quickly as possible to meet the rapidly changing demands of growers, retailers and consumers.

Edward Vinson Ltd recognise this need and so have begun to develop marker assisted breeding to improve their selection efficiency. They are working with the soft fruit group at the James Hutton Institute as well as the Advanced Plant Growth Centre to streamline both their crop phenotyping and selection processes. Current work is focussed on identifying the most efficient way of quantifying key traits in the field and in the future will use the APGC automated high-throughput phenotyping platform to quantify crop traits in unprecedented detail.

“The soft fruit industry faces a particularly difficult period due to changes in both market and environmental conditions. The combination of the facilities in the APGC and with the wider genetics skills in the James Hutton Institute presents a unique opportunity for us to take our strawberry breeding programmes to the next level. This is a true collaboration where knowledge is embedded within our organisation allowing us to independently evolve our breeding programmes to stay at the competitive cutting edge”

Dr Graham Clarkson

This work is funded by UKRI under the Knowledge Transfer Partnership Scheme grant number 10015546.