Purpose – Lettuce (Lactuca sativ L.) is one of the economically important vegetable crops, which worldwide market value is over 100 billion U.S. dollar. In Korea, about 89.7 kilo ton of lettuce was produced in 3400ha in 2016, recoded as No. 1 vegetable crop in domestic green house production. However, recently, domestic lettuce production and cultivation areas are all getting decreased. Thus, novel approaches are needed to be implemented to revive the production. Research design, data and methodology – In this review paper, we first prioritized the end-user traits which are imperative to positively stimulate the domestic lettuce market and discussed relevant genomics strategies. Especially, we assessed a possibility whether school meal program would be a potential niche market. Results – The genomics technologies, which become widely applied in the crop biotechnology since 2008 when next generation sequencing method was developed, may be a good solution in the crop improvement, efficiently gathering valuable information of agriculturally useful traits. Significantly, in lettuce, the high quality whole genome sequence, based on Lactuca sativa cv. Salinas, is publically available and this genomics platform, thus, would be implemented in lettuce breeding program to innovate relevant end-user traits both for the farmers and customers, including the disease resistance to the Fusarium wilt, productivity under hot weather conditions, various nutritional qualities and so forth. These improvements will boost domestic lettuce industries in the near future. Conclusions – Due to the nutritional distinctions comparing to the western style lettuces, domestic leaf lettuces could be one of the important vegetables in the school meal programs. To make it happen, we would better devise diverse recipes to make a salad with it, instead of only using as a wrap vegetable. Meanwhile, novel lettuce varieties need to be developed, which are favorable to the students and also easy to be handled with while processing. Overall, to achieve international competence in the lettuce industries, we need to create elite lettuce varieties that satisfies domestic farmers as well as customers, suitable to various niche markets, such as school meal program. Thus, efficient breeding programs using genomics approaches should be established in advance and careful monitoring on the preference of the related customers for a niche market be continued persistently.


Lettuce Industry, Lettuce Cultivar, Genomics Approach, Niche Market, School Meal Program.