The development of southernpea cultivars with a persistent green seed color has been the subject of much interest in the U.S. horticultural industry for more than two decades because seeds of such cultivars can be harvested at the dry seed stage of maturity without loss of their fresh green color. Two genes, gt (green testa) and gc (green cotyledon), are known that condition a persistent green seed color in southernpea. The gt gene was identified more than 25 years ago, but cultivars containing this gene have not been well-accepted by the industry because of the frequent occurrence of discolored (brown stains) seeds. Cultivars containing the more recently discovered gc gene, however, do not produce the discolored seeds and are used extensively in the frozen food industry. Efforts to develop cream-, blackeye-, and pinkeye-types of cultivars containing both the gt and gc genes are nearing completion. The dry seeds harvested from candidate cultivars homozygous for both the gt and gc genes are stain free and exhibit a deeper and more uniform green color than seeds harvested from cultivars homozygous for just one of the genes. It is anticipated that newer cultivars containing both of the genes that condition a persistent green seed color will not only have an enhanced value to the frozen food industry, but will also have great potential for use in the dry pack industry.
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