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Strawberries, genus Fragaria L., are the most economically important soft fruit worldwide. The common dessert strawberry is a regular part of the diet of millions of people and is cultivated in the arable regions of the globe from the arctic to the tropics. More than 75 countries have significantly reportable amounts of strawberry production. Annual world production of strawberries has more than doubled in the last 20 years to over 3.6 million metric tons (Fig. 3). Most of the production occurs in the northern hemisphere (98%), though no genetic or climatic barriers prevent expansion to the south.

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