Genome Reveals How Almonds Went from Deadly to DeliciousJune 20, 2019
Almonds produced nowadays are sweet, tasty, and safe to eat, but they were not usually so. Years ago, almonds were bitter and poisonous. In early Greek writings, breeders inserted chunks of pine into the trunks of almond trees, resulting in sweeter fruit. It is now believed that doing so stressed the trees, preventing them from producing amygdalin, the toxin responsible for the bitter taste.
Over time, farmers bred domesticated almond trees to produce palatable seeds. The research reveals how a genetic mutation "turned off" almond's ability to make the toxic compound thousands of years ago. Amygladin gives wild almond seeds bitterness and toxicity. When ingested, amygladin breaks down into several chemicals, including benzaldehyde, which tastes bitter, and cyanide, a deadly poison. The team found that the protein called bHLH2 in wild almond trees binds to two genes, instigating the production of amygdalin. In sweet domestic varieties, there is a mutated version of bHLH2 that is not able to bind with the genes, thus, production of amygdalin does not occur.
The Crop Biotech Update is a weekly newsletter of ISAAA, a non-for-profit organization. The CBU is distributed for free to over 23,000 subscribers worldwide to inform them about the key developments in biosciences, especially in agricultural biotechnology. Your support will help us in our mission to feed the world with knowledge. You can help by donating as little as $10.
See more articles:
News from Around the World
- Speed Breeding and Genome Editing to Feed 10 Billion
- Scientists Stack Six Algorithms to Improve Predictions of Yield-boosting Crop Traits
- Genome Reveals How Almonds Went from Deadly to Delicious
- Chinese Scientists Complete Whole Genome Sequencing of Ancient Wheat Seeds
- Indian Farmers Plant Bt Brinjal as Non-violent Protest against Gov't Regulations on GM Crops
- Study Debunks Myth that Modern Wheat Heavily Relies on Pesticides and Fertilizers
- 27,000 Farmers in Bangladesh Reap the Benefits of Bt Brinjal Due to Strong Political Support
- Federal Office for the Environment Approves GM Barley Field Trial in Switzerland
- OsbZIP62 Improves Drought and Oxidative Stress Tolerance in Rice
- Plant Virus and Insect Virus Connive for Greater Infestation
Plant Breeding Innovations
- Efficient Assembly of Large Multiplex CRISPR-Cas9 Guide Arrays for Maize Genome Editing
- Researchers Develop Better CRISPR-Cas9 Using GFP Tagged Protoplasts
Beyond Crop Biotech
- 2nd Gen Friendly™ Mosquitoes Successfully Deployed
- Discovery of Bacterial Mechanisms Leads to Cytotoxicity Tolerance in Biofuels
Subscribe to CBU: