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.