Category Archives: Genetics, Breeding, Gene Banks

Alaska Strawberry History

For anyone interested, here is a short article I wrote a few years ago about the history of strawberry breeding and cultivation in Alaska.      Strawberry history

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Strawberry wars

Strawberries have been a passion all over the world for hundreds of years. The story is no different in Alaska where strawberry mania traveled North with the Gold Rush. The attached link is an interesting history of the development of the strawberry with one of the world’s top producers, Driscoll as well as conflicts with public and private breeding interests. It evens mentions Alaska wild strawberries! Driscoll Strawberries conducted some research along with the UAF Georgeson Botanical Garden into strawberry plant production in the 1990s. They were interested in learning if producing the plants at high latitudes would improve yields when the plants were transplanted in southern California and Mexico for fruit production. The results were not positive so they moved on to other ideas. It was interesting working with this private company and learning their research procedures that have since catapulted their patented strawberries into world fame. Anyone who buys strawberries at Safeway or Freddies certainly knows their name. It is also interesting to note that Alaska had the first strawberry breeding program at a U.S. University anywhere! It was begun by Charles Georgeson in the early 1900s. Others certainly have lasted longer, but Alaska was the first! We just can’t seem to get anyone in the State to fund ag research on any level. The Agricultural Experiment Station was THE research and development arm for Alaska farmers, and today it is a shadow of its former self.

The Driscoll Story

 

Origin of the Svalbard Seed Bank

Here is a link to an interview with Cary Fowler and Terry Gros about how the global seed vault originated. The interview is a very interesting history.

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/539005688/539059394“>NPR- Global Seed Vault