A Gene in Wild Lettuce Allows for Germination at Higher Temperatures
Lettuce contains a gene that prevents seed germination if it gets too hot, and that could be trouble in California and Arizona—two states that produce more than 90 percent of the lettuce grown in the United States. Researchers at the University of California-Davis identified a gene in wild lettuce that allows for germination at higher temperatures and transferred that gene into commercial lettuce. The resulting lettuce variety can be grown in more locations with multiple growing seasons, reducing the need for shipping. Additionally, growers do not have to use as much water to cool the soil as they would use for traditional lettuce varieties. Collectively, the new lettuce variety results in greater profit for farmers, more fresh lettuce for consumers, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
NIFA originally published this impact in the NIFA 2015 Annual Report. Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.