International Blackcurrant Conference to be held in Dundee

image captionMore than 50% of the global crop comes from varieties bred at the James Hutton Institute

The world's biggest ever blackcurrant conference is taking place in Dundee this week.

Organisers say the city is an apt host as half the global crop comes from varieties bred at the James Hutton Institute on the outskirts of Dundee.

More than 170 delegates from 22 countries will attend the conference at the Apex City Quay Hotel.

The programme of events includes a trip to a local blackcurrant farm and a jam factory.

The conference is being hosted by the International Blackcurrant Association and the James Hutton Institute, in association with GlaxoSmithKline and Mylnefield Research Services Ltd.

Delegates will hear about the latest industry and research developments.

Breeding programme

The James Hutton Institute, and its predecessor the Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI), have had blackcurrant breeding programmes since the 1960s.

More than 95% of the British blackcurrant crop comes from varieties bred at the institute.

Twelve of the varieties, which are all prefixed "Ben", are currently in commercial production.

Dr Rex Brennan, who leads the blackcurrant breeding programme, said the conference was a great opportunity to promote the industry.

He added: "It is a very exciting time to be involved in blackcurrant breeding.

"Because of the tools we have at our disposal we can deliver varieties aimed at definite sectors of the industry, that is fresh or processing, while taking into account other factors like environmental change."

The conference takes place between Wednesday and Friday.

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