SHOULD WE RECONSTITUTE THE STRAWBERRY?
The commercial strawberry, Fragaria x ananassa Duch., began its history as an accidental hybrid of the New World species F. chiloensis (L.) Duch. and F. virginiana Duch. In a European botanical garden approximately 250 years ago. Even though the cultivated strawberry is based on these two completely compatible wild species, little use of the native germplasm has been made by breeders since the formative years of F. x ananassa. In a recent survey of North American cultivars, the majority of the genetic makeup of the cultivars released since 1960 was found to be from only seven founding clones. Most of the successful incorporations of wild-derived traits have come through backcrossing, most notably the movement of day-neutrality from F. virginiana into the cultivated strawberry by R.S. Bringhurst. Recent collections of native material have uncovered a wide range of potentially useful traits in both F. virginiana and F. chiloensis including architecture, disease and pest resistance, frost tolerance, fruit quality, photoperiod, photosynthetic rate, and yield. We suggest that elite clones of the two species should be intercrossed in a diallele fashion to reconstitute F. x ananassa. This approach will increase genetic diversity in the F. x ananassa gene pool, produce higher levels of heterozygosity and generate unique coadapted complexes.
Hancock, J., Luby, J. and Dale, A. (1993). SHOULD WE RECONSTITUTE THE STRAWBERRY?. Acta Hortic. 348, 86-93