A carrot seed and breeding project led by Claire Luby, a University of Wisconsin-Madison grad student, collected seeds for every commercially available carrot cultivar she could find in the U.S.—142 in all.

She has run a series of cross pollinations to see what improvements can be made in carrots. A part of her mission is to stake out some intellectual property for future carrot breeders.

In the last year alone, 15 patents have been filed for carrot varieties, primarily by one company.

In a digital library news item of ACSESS (Alliance of Crop, Soil and Environmental Science Societies), it is suggested that “some academic plant breeders are increasingly concerned by the economic concentration of seed companies and the concurrent growth of plant patents.”

The question is: “What kind of operating room does that leave for academics and farmers?”

To read the article about open-source access breeding for specialty crops, click here.