True breeding of button mushrooms has hardly been done in the last decades, despite this species being one of the most cultivated mushrooms worldwide. Research done in the last 20 years has identified and characterised new germplasm and improved our understanding of the genetic base for some traits. A substantial collection of wild-collected strains is now available and partly characterised for a number of important traits such as disease resistance and yield. Most of the variations found in a number of important agronomic traits have a considerable heritability and are thus useful for breeding. Genetic marker technology has also developed considerably for this mushrooms in the last decade and used to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for important agronomic traits. This progress has, except for one example, not resulted so far into new commercially varieties. One of the reasons lies in the typical life cycle of the button mushroom Agaricus bisporus var. bisporus which hampers breeding. Joint investment is needed to solve technical problems in breeding. Special attention is needed for the protection of new varieties. Due to its typical life cycle, it is very easy to generate so called “look-a-likes” from protected cultivars by screening fertile single spore cultures. A consensus has been reached within the mushroom (breeding) industry to consider this method as the generation of essentially derived varieties as defined in plant breeding.
- Agaricus bisporus
- Button mushroom
- Essentially derived varieties
- Strain protection