Updates from 18th EUCARPIA conference on capsicum and eggplant breeding

Last week, I had the privilege of participating in the 18th edition of the #EUCARPIA conference. Gathering with brilliant minds from across the globe in the field of #pepper and #eggplant breeding was a truly enriching experience. Scientists and breeders, coming from industry and academia, came together representing 20 countries across 5 continents to dive deep into the latest developments in the quest to improve pepper and eggplant breeding.

We discussed groundbreaking work conducted in collaboration with diverse research groups on fundamental and applied topics. The mission? Identifying crucial Quantitative Trait Loci (#QTLs) to adapt our vegetables to the climate crisis, boost yields in greenhouses and fields, and fortify them against #pests. The collective dedication to solve global breeding challenges was inspiring.

Here are some standout moments that stayed with me:
1️⃣ #Climatechange (especially in the US) is not a distant threat—it’s here! With temperatures soaring to 49.7 degrees, the urgency to adapt our crops is crystal clear.
2️⃣ The presentations overwhelmingly focused on discovering QTLs and genes linked to both abiotic and biotic stress resistance. We’re in a race to tailor our crops to the changing environment, with potential CRISPR targets already identified!
3️⃣ There’s a growing consensus that #CRISPR holds immense potential, pending regulatory changes. It’s encouraging to believe in a brighter future for GMO regulations in the EU.
4️⃣ Fun facts! Did you know that chilies aren’t spicy—they’re pungent? And eggplants can be so prickly that they make for fantastic natural fences—nature’s defense mechanism at its best! 😊

I was thrilled to engage in numerous discussions about how CRISPR can support breeding endeavors, and about how to define safety in the discussion about new breeding techniques. I also had the pleasure of sharing insights about the DNA-free TiGER workflow, developed at Hudson River Biotechnology, which aims to conquer the challenges of editing and regenerating even the most stubborn crops and vegetables. 😊

Mark your calendars for the 19th EUCARPIA edition in Wageningen in 2026! See you there to discuss how far CRISPR has come in the world of capsicum and eggplant breeding by 2026🌍🌿