The Project’s carrot pre-breeding work is conducted by the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA-ARS), the Department of Biological Sciences of the University of Sargodha in Pakistan, and the Department of Horticulture of Bangladesh Agricultural University, and the World Vegetable Center. The USDA-ARS maintains a large collection of wild carrot species, while the Department of Biological Sciences of the University of Sargodha and the Department of Horticulture of Bangladesh Agricultural University both have active carrot breeding programs. The carrot pre-breeding work is expected to take place between 2014 and 2017.
The objective of the Project’s carrot pre-breeding work is to evaluate wild carrot varieties that were collected in very warm, dry and salty sites to identify genetic sources for improved heat, drought and salt tolerance, and introduce these adaptive traits into cultivated, elite carrot backgrounds. Carrot is a widely grown vegetable crop that is valuable not only as a cash crop but also as an excellent source of Vitamin A, an important contributor to nutrition. This pre-breeding work is the first time that stress resilience has been evaluated in wild carrot species.
Specifically, 50-75 carrot wild relative varieties from the USDA carrot germplasm collection will be evaluated through field trials in the first phase of the project in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the United States (in Wisconsin and California). Meanwhile, molecular marker analysis of the wild carrot varieties used will be initiated by the USDA program to create unique markers to be used in characterizing genomic regions originating in CWR and cultivated sources. In the second phase, carrot crop wild relatives and elite, cultivated carrot lines will be crossed with the goal of combining stress resilience with nutritious, flavorful and widely grown carrot cultivars. Finally, in the last phase, the hybrid wild-cultivated offspring will be evaluated in field trials for abiotic stress resilience as well as yield and quality performance (flavor, nutritional value).