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Research Case Study - Vegetable Genetic Improvement Network

For more detailled information and access to VeGIN data, please visit the main VeGIN site.

The Vegetable Genetic Improvement Network (VeGIN) was initiated with funding from Defra. The Network brings together research focused on key vegetable crops and encourages collaborations between industry and researchers to address how genetic improvement of crop varieties can contribute to a sustainable increase in food production to meet the twin challenges of food security and climate change.VeGIN brings together research on the genetic improvement of carrot, onion, leafy vegetables and salads and maintains its genetic resource collections in the Warwick Genetic Resources Unit (GRU). It benefits from knowledge arising from satellite projects funded by industry and other government funders, and provides the underpinning resources for such projects.
The major UK vegetable crops; Brassica, Lettuce, Carrot and Onion all make an important contribution to a healthy UK diet and our "5-a-day"

Pre breeding research to support sustainable farming of leafy vegetables and salads has delivered:


  • Publicly available mapped C genome Brassica SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) (Guy Barker, Jay Moore, Peter Walley)
  • Genetically fixed diversity sets of domesticated Brassica oleracea and its wild relatives (Graham Teakle and Peter Walley)
  • QTL (Quantitative trait loci) for Nitrogen content variation in Brassica oleracea (Graham Teakle)
  • Sources of resistance to Turnip Mosaic and Turnip Yellows Viruses (John Walsh)
  • Sources of resistance to Diamond Back Moth (Rosemary Collier and Peter Walley)


  • A publicly available F8 RIL mapping population (Saladin X Iceberg) and associated linkage map (Paul Hand, Peter Walley)
  • A lettuce (cv Saladin) TILLING population (Paul Hand)
  • A 96 accession lettuce diversity set (Dave Pink, Peter Walley, Graham Teakle)
  • Putative sources of resistance to Nasonovia ribis-nigri (Rosemary Collier, Graham Teakle, Peter Walley)
  • Genetic analysis of nitrate accumulation in lettuce (Paul Hand, Peter Walley)
  • Genetic analysis of post harvest discolouration (Laura Atkinson, Paul Hand and Dave Pink)

Pre-breeding research to support sustainable farming of onion and carrot has delivered:


  • Sources of resistance to Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cepae (John Clarkson, Andrew Taylor, Brian Thomas)
  • Sources of alleles for improved compatibility with mycorrhizal fungi (John Clarkson, Andrew Taylor, Brian Thomas)
  • Genetic markers linked to seed/ seedling vigour (John Clarkson, Andrew Taylor, Brian Thomas)
  • A defined onion diversity set of half sib families from 96 PGR accessions (John Clarkson, Andrew Taylor, Brian Thomas)


The initial task was to develop a carrot diversity set to assess genetic variation for resistance to key pests and diseases. A key network was established, building links with industry and other researchers.

The project delivered:

  • A carrot diversity set of half sib families and an S1 derived from 96 carrot Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) accessions (Charlotte Allender, Brian Thomas)
  • Sources of beneficial alleles for improved seed/seedling vigour (Dave Pink)