Restoration of fertility to the now-sterile garlic plant has been accomplished by Israeli researchers, thus opening the way to wide-ranging scientific research that could lead to improved yields and quality.
Garlic is one of the most popular vegetable condiments in the world. Its origins are in Central Asia, where in the past, several fertile or semi-fertile garlic plants were identified. However, the cultivated, commercial plants we know today are totally sterile and are propagated only asexually. The reasons for this as well as the means to restore the plants’ fertility have remained unknown.
Recently, however, a team of researchers headed by Prof. Haim Rabinowitch, rector of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a researcher in the university’s Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, and Dr. Rina Kamenetsky of the Volcani Institute has succeeded in solving this ancient puzzle. Seven years of research that included study of the morphology and the developmental physiology of the plant have resulted in a simple solution to the garlic’s infertility.
Jerry Barach | Hebrew University
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