Future of avocados: Breeding strains that can grow in California year round

| | May 9, 2017
Screen Shot at PM
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Americans ate 2 billion pounds of avocados [in 2016], two-thirds of which were imported – mostly from Mexico. That’s because avocados grow year-round in Mexico’s climate – but not in California’s. But researchers in the Golden State — America’s biggest producer of the green fruit — are working to change that.

Currently, most California avocados are grown in the southern part of the state and on a narrow strip along the coast. But if avocados could grow in the Central Valley, the state’s agricultural powerhouse, farmers there could reap the benefits of our avocado addiction, as well as stand out among foreign imports.

For more than 20 years, researcher Mary Lu Arpaia has been on a mission to find an avocado tree that can withstand the Central Valley’s frosty winters and hot summers. At a test field east of the Central Valley city of Visalia, Arpaia thinks she’s found three varieties that can do just that.

The goal is to breed varieties that aren’t super tall, can be planted close to each other and have a high yield. One type Arpaia and her colleague, Eric Focht, are recommending to growers has all these traits. It’s called GEM, the great granddaughter of the Hass avocado, and is already sold at nurseries. Arpaia didn’t breed it, but she and Focht recommended that the University of California system patent and release the variety.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: California Is On Its Way To Having An Avocado Crop Year-Round

Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend