Submitted to: Plant Breeding Reviews
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 15, 2001
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Genetic improvement of carrots has been reported since carrots were first described as the crop we know today, only about 1100 years ago. The earliest carrots were categorized by root color. Beginning about 350 years ago, local carrot cultivars were first named and these names came to describe carrot root classes. Only in the last 50 years have serious concerted efforts been directed to the genetic improvement of carrots. During the breeding process over time these have been significant changes in the shape and quality of carrots to better suit producer and consumer needs. Carrot improvement today utilizes classical and biotechnological methodologies. This review and analysis of the history of carrot domestication and breeding will provide carrot researchers with a perspective for current research and production.
Technical Abstract: Early carrot breeding dates back 1100 years with little record remaining of breeding techniques. No doubt diverse germplasm played an important role in early carrot breeding. In fact, wild carrot germplasm is the basis for the cytoplasm male sterility used today for hybrid production. Germplasm was also of vital importance for improving the nutritional quality of modern carrots since introgression of Asiatic germplasm with European stocks was the basis for increased carotene levels. Biotechnological methods suchas marker-associated selection and DNA sequencing complement classical breeding in the development of modern hybrid carrots.