Scientists: GMOs Not Part of Florida Strawberry Success

Vance Whitaker next to a bed of strawberries
UF/IFAS Associate Professor Vance Whitaker says he’s fielding more questions from consumers about genetic engineering.
Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS

Strawberries bred by University of Florida scientists for commercial consumption are not genetically engineered. This is what UF/IFAS researchers, as well as local growers, want the general public to know.

According to Vance Whitaker, a UF/IFAS Associate Professor of Horticultural Sciences and strawberry breeder based at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, there has been an increase in inquiries from consumers about whether new varieties in particular are genetically engineered/modified. “In recent years, I have been frequently contacted by the public with questions about genetic engineering, and Florida strawberry growers have frequently reached out to me to help answer questions they have received from the public as well,” Whitaker states.

To help provide more transparency to the process, Whitaker co-authored a new UF/IFAS Extension document in which he and UF/IFAS Assistant Professor Seonghee Lee describe how UF/IFAS scientists breed commercially grown strawberries for Florida growers and other markets. The document lays out that UF/IFAS strawberry breeding program has been developing strawberry varieties for nearly 70 years, and that the fruit is developed using a conventional breeding process of selecting seedlings, which later become new parents for the next cycle of crossing.

The bottom line: UF/IFAS breeders do not use genetic engineering technologies to improve strawberries.

“As we continue to find more precise and creative ways to breed strawberries, we hope to develop strawberry varieties that perform better for the farmer, taste better for the consumer, and have increased disease resistance, making them healthier overall,” Lee concludes.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Berries Stories
Berries
July 1, 2017
Water is a Must for Berry Crops
As the adage goes, “ability is availability” as so it goes for water. Read More
Berries
June 27, 2017
Study Zeroes in on Sweet Spot for Florida Blueberries
Taste test proves farmers, marketers, and parents should be cognizant of kids’ consumer clout. Read More
Berries
June 20, 2017
Don’t Be Fooled By Rust in Your Brambles
Knowing whether you have orange rust disease or cane leaf rust is important for proper control methods. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 19, 2017
Bee-ware: New Resources Released for National Pollinator Week
New videos, webinars available during week-long observance. Read More
Harvest CROO Robotics mobile strawberry picking platform
Berries
June 13, 2017
Robotic Strawberry Picker Ramping up for Rollout
Florida-based agtech company officially unveils autonomous mobile platform. Read More
Berries
June 10, 2017
Orange Rust Management Tips for Brambles
Disease is on the rise this season and can affect any propagated plant material. Read More
Berries
May 30, 2017
Exploring Biodegradable Plastic Mulches in Red Raspberry
As tissue culture plugs increase in popularity, growers are seeking ways to get these planting off to a good start. Read More
Berries
May 26, 2017
Jury Sides with University in Strawberry Breeding Lawsuit
Decision says former breeders infringed on UC patents to develop material for corporate breeding firm. Read More
Berries
May 23, 2017
Researchers Examining Potential for Longer Berry Season in Northeast
Team at Penn State University using low and high tunnels and plastic coverings to extend raspberry and strawberry seasons. Read More
Berries
May 15, 2017
Grower Comments on Pyrethroids Being Sought by EPA
Comment period on popular class of insecticides opens today. Read More
Alto Straughn receives distinguished alumnus award from UF President Kent Fuchs
Berries
May 4, 2017
Florida Farming Pioneer Still Making the Honor Roll
Alto Straughn presented with University of Florida’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. Read More
Berries
May 2, 2017
Southeastern Strawberry Growers Advised to Prepare for Disease Pressure
Recent rain is conducive to the main strawberry fruit rot diseases, according to the chief of the Southern Region IPM Center. Read More
Berries
April 26, 2017
Tips To Manage Winter-Damaged Blueberries
While low-chill varieties in Southern states may have experienced freeze damage for the second year in a row, giving those plants extra care will help ensure a good start to the 2018 growing season. Read More
The Hill family of Southern Hill Farms in Florida
Berries
April 13, 2017
Florida Farming Family Staying on Top of the Blueberry Game
The Hill family of Southern Hill Farms continues to up their efforts to diversify business and stay out ahead of a competitive market. Read More
Berries
April 10, 2017
North Carolina Blueberry Crop Still Kicking
Thanks to pruning cuts and a diverse mix of cultivars, the majority of the crop survived a series of March freezes. Read More
The Latest
Berries
August 3, 2017
Tips to Control Rodents in Drip-Irrigate…
Rodents are a major concern for all strawberry growers, including those with drip irrigation systems. Pests like pocket gophers, moles, Read More
Berries
August 1, 2017
New York Berry Crops Field Day Slated
Cornell University and a Rensselaer County farm partner to host a free workshop for commercial berry growers. Read More
Berries
July 2, 2017
Southern Highbush Berries Have Turned th…
Berry industry revolutionized thanks to the introduction of low-chill varieties. Read More
Berries
July 1, 2017
Water is a Must for Berry Crops
As the adage goes, “ability is availability” as so it goes for water. Read More
Berries
June 27, 2017
Study Zeroes in on Sweet Spot for Florid…
Taste test proves farmers, marketers, and parents should be cognizant of kids’ consumer clout. Read More
Berries
June 20, 2017
Don’t Be Fooled By Rust in Your Brambles
Knowing whether you have orange rust disease or cane leaf rust is important for proper control methods. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 19, 2017
Bee-ware: New Resources Released for Nat…
New videos, webinars available during week-long observance. Read More
Berries
June 13, 2017
Robotic Strawberry Picker Ramping up for…
Florida-based agtech company officially unveils autonomous mobile platform. Read More
Berries
June 10, 2017
Orange Rust Management Tips for Brambles
Disease is on the rise this season and can affect any propagated plant material. Read More
Berries
May 30, 2017
Exploring Biodegradable Plastic Mulches …
As tissue culture plugs increase in popularity, growers are seeking ways to get these planting off to a good start. Read More
Berries
May 26, 2017
Jury Sides with University in Strawberry…
Decision says former breeders infringed on UC patents to develop material for corporate breeding firm. Read More
Berries
May 23, 2017
Researchers Examining Potential for Long…
Team at Penn State University using low and high tunnels and plastic coverings to extend raspberry and strawberry seasons. Read More
Berries
May 15, 2017
Grower Comments on Pyrethroids Being Sou…
Comment period on popular class of insecticides opens today. Read More
Berries
May 4, 2017
Florida Farming Pioneer Still Making the…
Alto Straughn presented with University of Florida’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. Read More
Berries
May 2, 2017
Southeastern Strawberry Growers Advised …
Recent rain is conducive to the main strawberry fruit rot diseases, according to the chief of the Southern Region IPM Center. Read More
Berries
April 26, 2017
Tips To Manage Winter-Damaged Blueberrie…
While low-chill varieties in Southern states may have experienced freeze damage for the second year in a row, giving those plants extra care will help ensure a good start to the 2018 growing season. Read More
Berries
April 13, 2017
Florida Farming Family Staying on Top of…
The Hill family of Southern Hill Farms continues to up their efforts to diversify business and stay out ahead of a competitive market. Read More
Berries
April 10, 2017
North Carolina Blueberry Crop Still Kick…
Thanks to pruning cuts and a diverse mix of cultivars, the majority of the crop survived a series of March freezes. Read More