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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Crack Genome that May Lead to Development of Allergen-free Peanuts

June 8, 2016

A team of international researchers, including scientists from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) decoded the genome of the ancestor of peanut, the diploid A-genome (Arachis duranensis). This breakthrough opens the doors towards developing allergen-free, aflatoxin-free, and nutrition-rich varieties. 

The findings, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), include the draft genome of the groundnut A-genome progenitor containing 50,324 protein-coding gene models. Analysis of the complete DNA sequencing suggests that the peanut lineage was affected by at least three sets of chromosomes since the origin of flowering plants. The findings also provide millions of structural variations that can be used as genetic markers for the development of peanut varieties with improved traits such as increased pod and oil yield, drought and heat tolerance and greater disease resistance through genomics-assisted breeding.

"This study has not just provided the full genome sequence to help plant breeders across the globe to develop more productive and more resilient groundnut varieties in a faster manner, but also provides us an insight to geocarpy, a reproductive process where the flowers grown on the stem go inside the soil and pod formations occur," said Dr. Rajeev Varshney, Co-Coordinator of Genome Sequencing Project and Research Program Director, Genetic Gains program at ICRISAT.

Read the news article from ICRISAT. Read the research article in PNAS.