Dr. Vance M. Whitaker
Research: Strawberry Breeding and Genetics
Dr. Whitaker conducts an applied research program in breeding and genetics, using both field and lab techniques.
This research program is primarily aimed at the genetic characterization of important traits in strawberries and informing methods and strategies for developing newer and better cultivars.
Few traits in cultivated strawberry are controlled by single genes, due to the complex genetics of this species.
Therefore, the approaches of quantitative genetics are important for determining the types of genetic variance that contribute to economically important traits and how selecting one trait influences another trait. However, for some traits that are controlled by one or few genes, breeding is being enhanced through DNA marker technology.
It is important to note that DNA-informed breeding in this sense is distinct from the use of transgenic technologies. All UF/IFAS cultivars are bred through traditional means and are not transgenic.