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Developing new varieties

Our goal: Produce varieties that extend the boundaries of tropical vegetable production

The Center’s improved varieties make a major contribution to vegetable production for the poor. They yield well, are resistant to diseases, highly nutritious and adapted to the tropics.

Major breeding successes include the development of high-yielding, heat-tolerant tomatoes and brassicas, which has improved profitability of these crops in the tropics, and the development of multiple disease resistance in tomatoes, peppers, cucurbits, onions, mungbean, soybean, and eggplant. The Center’s improved mungbean varieties revolutionized the industry, and are planted on millions of hectares throughout Asia.

The Center’s high beta-carotene tomatoes provide 3 to 6 times as much vitamin A as normal tomatoes, so that a single tomato provides a person’s daily vitamin A needs. Processing tomatoes are being bred for high lycopene and high solids content, jointless pedicel and concentrated fruit set.

The Center currently has active breeding programs in tomato, sweet pepper, chili pepper, onions, garlic, leafy crucifers, vegetable soybean, mungbean, cucumbers, summer and winter squash, and okra. Selection programs are improving the quality of indigenous African and Asian vegetables.

Expertise

  • Developing vegetable varieties and lines with improved disease resistance and stress tolerance. The Center has had a long-term focus on developing heat-tolerant tomatoes, chilies, and sweet peppers with multiple disease resistance. Both conventional and molecular breeding methods are used. Breeding work aims to develop short-day red and yellow onions with improved yield, extended shelf life, and Stemphyllium resistance; horticulturally superior leafy crucifers; heat-tolerant broccoli; more nutritious vegetable soybean; mungbean with improved flavor; and disease resistant summer and winter squash. Cucumbers with improved horticultural traits are being bred with improved disease resistance, good fruit quality, and high gynoecy.
  • Improving the disease resistance and quality of African traditional vegetables and expanding their adoption.  A range of traditional vegetables with superior horticultural traits and disease resistance have been tested and developed in Tanzania. We are also developing Capsicum chinense lines resistant to Pepper veinal mottle virus.
  • Developing vegetable variety testing networks and improved seed systems in conjunction with the public and private sectors. We have developed vegetable nurseries for global and regional testing of vegetable lines under diverse environments. Work is continuing on the exploitation of male sterility to improve the efficiency of hybrid vegetable seed production.