Taiwan is establishing a database to compile a comprehensive pool of predicted molecular markers for moth orchids to prevent future variety rights disputes, a local researcher said yesterday.
“Now, with mature technology and a standard operating procedure, we are sure we can establish a 200-variety database by the end of the year,” said Chang Hui-ju (張惠如), an assistant researcher at the Taiwan Seed Improvement and Propagation Station.
There are about 400 moth orchid varieties grown in Taiwan, Chang said.
The Council of Agriculture’s Taichung-based station has been working on the technology for the past three years and it has been in close contact with a counterpart in the Netherlands, Chang said.
All living organisms have genetic molecular markers and such analysis allows plant breeding programs to be more efficient, she said, adding that the station is also planning to apply the technology to other plants.
Orchids are one of Taiwan’s most important agricultural exports. The nations’ flower exports totaled US$194.56 million last year, up 10 percent year-on-year, according to government statistics.
Sales of Oncidium orchids showed the biggest annual increase of 25 percent, reaching US$18.44 million, while sales of moth orchids increased 16 percent to a record high of US$114.12 million last year, the statistics show.