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LettuceKnow: Towards science-based improvement of salad

How can you ensure that lettuce and other healthy leaf vegetables also grow well during dry, hot conditions such as those of last summer? And how can you enable them to thrive in silted soil, under the pressure of pathogens or in multilayer cultivation under LED lighting? The programme LettuceKnow uses lettuce as a model crop for scientific research into the optimal genetic composition of the leafy vegetables and other so-called composites, such as sunflower and chicory.

  • Purpose and objectives

    In this programme, six large vegetable breeding companies are working together with twelve research groups and the Centre for Genetic Resources. The researchers will combine knowledge of genetic variants and their activity in more than 500 mostly wild lettuce lines using advanced phenotyping, bioinformatics and machine-learning techniques. That will enable them to determine how genetic differences determine growth and resilience. The researchers will subsequently use this knowledge to develop healthy, strong lettuce varieties that can cope with changing climate conditions, plant diseases and new cultivation conditions.

    Programme leader

    Prof. Guido van den Ackerveken (Utrecht University)

  • Budget and lead time

    This programme has started in 2018. The average duration of granted projects is 4 years.

  • Partners

    Bejo Zaden, Centre for Genetic Resources, ENZA Zaden, Leiden University, Rijk Zwaan, Syngenta, Takii & Co. Ltd., UMC Utrecht, Utrecht University, Vilmorin & Cie, Wageningen University & Research


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Mw. dr. T. (Tamara) van Mölken
Senior programme officer

+31 (0)30 600 1323

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NWO Domain
NWO Domain Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES)