Japanese Tea Breeding History and the Future Perspective
Because almost all tea production is steamed green tea in Japan, this is the main target of breeding. Japanese tea breeding is very old and dates back as far as the 19th century, when breeders in the private sector selected elite clones from the original Japanese tea plants. However, plantings of one clonal green tea cultivar, Yabukita, bred privately by Sugiyama Hikosaburo in the early 20th century, now occupy about 80% of the land under Japanese tea cultivation. Recently, marker-assisted selection (MAS) and generational acceleration has been put to practical use. A move towards an era of genomic selection, sharing of information on DNA markers—especially single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)—may well be desirable.
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