Mary Williams mwilliams at THUBAN.AC.HMC.EDU
Wed Apr 9 12:34:51 EST 1997

Thanks for all your help. The concensus (3/3 replies...) is, breeders have
selected for the carotene accumulation.

Detailed replies follow:

>Mary, I suspect that humans have selected for increased amounts of
>carotene in carrot roots, since wild carrot (Daucus carota) roots are
>essentially white in color. Preston Adams, Bio. Sci. Dept., DePauw
>Univ., Greencastle, IN

>My sources (breeders) say:
>b-carotine has been heavily selected for; it's one of the few sources in
>the human diet for this compound and is the major precursor for Vitamin A.
>Terpenes (the bitter taste in carrots), on the other hand, have been
>heavily selected against.   There are purple carrots, by the way, which
>have anthracyanins in the root as well.
>Robert Rutherford
>Laboratory of Genetics
>(608) 265-2313

>My anecdotal information says that the orange color of commercial carrots
>has been selected by man.  The wild carrot has a white root and I
>understand that there are other colors of carrot as well (purple?).  But
>the orange color must have been the most appealing.  Since I am not certain
>about the validity of my information I would be very interested in any
>other information that you might find.  Thanks.
>Diane C. Robertson
>Associate Professor
>Biology Dept.
>Grinnell College
>Grinnell, Iowa  50112
>robertdc at

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