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Crop Biotech Update

Research Team Cracks Lavender Genome

October 17, 2018

A team of researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan Campus has sequenced the genome of lavender. Lavender has many uses, from essential oils to fragrances, personal hygiene, and pharmaceutical industries. This is the reason why scientists want to get to the root of lavender's secrets. Lavender is an important crop plant that significantly contributes to the multi-billion dollar, and continually growing, essential oil industry.

UBC Okanagan Associate Professor Soheil Mahmoud said they have built the roadmap for the discovery of the genetic elements that define lavender. The draft genome will help scientists quickly discover genes for essential oil production, to understand regulatory elements that control the expression of these genes, and to learn how the genome works as a whole. Additionally, the genome sequence can help researchers develop genetic markers for ‘fingerprinting' and identification of various lavender species and varieties.

Mahmoud also explains that the genome sequence can help researchers improve the plant. For example, many high-yield lavender species actually produce undesired elements such as camphor. Researchers can now produce oils without increasing the amounts of undesired ingredients through targeted breeding and plant biotechnology.

For more details, read the UBC Okanagan News.