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Scientists unlock peanut genome

China Daily | Updated: 2019-05-22 10:07

FUZHOU - A research team has completed the genome sequencing of the cultivated peanut plant, the first time that genome sequencing of the entire peanut plant has been carried out in the world, and the plant's gene functional groups implicated in seed oil content and disease resistance got revealed.

The research was led by the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University in East China's Fujian province and jointly carried out by 78 international researchers from 23 institutions in China, the United States and India, among other countries.

Zhuang Weijian, the leading scientist on the research team at the university, says the genome is large, complex and difficult to decode.

"The research deciphers the cultivated peanut's entire genome, making it possible for genome-wide selection breeding, edited breeding, precision molecular breeding and improving its genetic efficiency," he says, adding that the R gene cluster resistant to late leaf spot and rust diseases was obtained for the first time through the genome's fine mapping - helpful to breed new varieties of high-yield quality.

High oleic acid seeds from peanuts can help prevent human cardiovascular diseases and prolong the peanut products' shelf life. Through re-sequencing and other methods, scientists can breed new strains of peanut high in oleic acid.

"This is a major global breakthrough in peanut genetic research. It will benefit not only China but the world as a whole," says Rajeev K. Varshney, a researcher in India and an author of the research paper, which was published in the May issue of Nature Genetics, a top international science journal.





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