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VeGIN - The Vegetable Genetic Improvement Network

VeGIN - The Vegetable Genetic Improvement Network

Funded by the Defra

The Vegetable Genetic Improvement Network, VeGIN, is a Defra funded project with the aim of creating an interactive network of researchers and industry leaders, who work together to promote market delivery of improved vegetable varieties using sustainable production systems.

VeGIN brings together research focussed on four key vegetable crops – onion, carrot, leafy vegetables and salads - 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. The ‘biotic’ or pest and disease research is carried out by the University of Warwick, whilst the ‘abiotic’ or physical challenges associated with climate change are being carried out by Harper Adams University. Industrial partners play an invaluable role, advising on key concerns within the horticulture industry as well providing feedback on the work being undertaken.

The project utilises the genetic diversity in the Vegetable Genetic Resources Unit (GRU) which is also based at Warwick Crop Centre. The gene bank holds thousands of accessions representing different crop species. As these accessions characterise the range of genetic diversity within a single crop species, from wild type crop relatives to commercial varieties, VeGIN can use these accessions representing a huge range of genetic diversity to identify genes of interest that can be used to breed more sustainable crops.

VeGIN works on a diverse range of traits, the list below indicates some of the pests and diseases currently being researched:

· Cavity spot caused by the Oomycete Pythium violae in carrots

· Clubroot in leafy brassicas cause by the fungus Plasmodiophora brassicae

· Lettuce wilt cause by Fusarium oxysporum

· Willow-Carrot aphid infestation of carrot crops and the associated viruses the aphids transmit

· Currant-Lettuce, Nasonovia ribisnigri, aphid on lettuce crops

· Diamond-back Moth, Plutella xylostella, infestation of leafy brassica crops

· Cabbage Root Fly, Delia radicum, damage to leafy brassica crops


If would like to learn more about VeGIN please visit the website and follow us on X @VeGINWarwick. If you would like more information about a specific project, would like to be added to the VeGIN mailing list or are an industry member looking to work together please email

Currant-lettuce aphid (Nasonovia ribisnigri) on lettuce