Submitted to: Plant and Animal Genome Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 8, 2010
Publication Date: January 15, 2011
Citation: Simon, P.W. 2011. Genomics and genetic improvement of carrot pigments [abstract]. Plant and Animal Genome Conference. W409.
The color of carrots was an important attribute during its domestication as a root crop. Modern carrot researchers continue to include color as a major breeding attribute so that the carotene content of U.S. carrots is 70% higher today than 30 years ago. Carrot breeding stocks have been developed with not only orange, but also distinctive dark orange, red, yellow and purple color. Parallel fundamental research studies are underway to better understand the genetics, molecular biology, and potential nutritional impact of these carrots. Genes have been mapped and cloned, and the alpha- and beta-carotene in typical orange and dark orange carrots, lycopene in red carrots, lutein in yellow carrots, and anthocyanins in purple carrots are bioavailable. Major QTL for provitamin A carotenoids have been mapped, major genes fine mapped and marker-assisted selection has been applied. Major genes controlling anthocyanin accumulation have been mapped and functional enzymes evaluated. As we expand our basic knowledge of pigments, the prospects are good for future improvements in carrot color and nutritional value useful for the vegetable industry and the consuming public.