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Crop Biotech Update

Genome Sequence of Cultivated Groundnut Completed

March 2, 2016

The International Peanut Genome Initiative (IPGI), including researchers from the University of Georgia and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), has completed sequencing the ancestral genomes of groundnut.

The groundnut that is grown today comes from the hybridization of two wild species, Arachis duranensis (V14167, A-genome ancestor) and A. ipaensis (K30076, B-genome ancestor), cultivated in South America. To map the groundnut's genome structure, the researchers sequenced the two ancestral parents, and the sequences provide researchers access to 96% of all groundnut genes in their genomic context. A comparison of the DNA sequences of one of the wild species with the cultivated groundnut showed that they are 99.96% identical.

"Improving groundnut varieties to be more drought, insect and disease resistant using the genome sequence, can help farmers in developing nations produce more groundnuts with fewer pesticides and other chemicals and help these farmers feed their families and build more secure livelihoods," said Dr. Rajeev Varshney, Research Program Director – Grain Legumes and Director, Center of Excellence in Genomics at ICRISAT.

For more details, read the news release at the ICRISAT website.