Biotech Updates

Castor Bean Genome Published

August 27, 2010

A team of scientists from the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) and the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS), University of Maryland School of Medicine, has opened research possibilities for the improvement of the castor bean by studying the castor bean genome. The 4.5 X genome coverage of this oilseed crop is published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

The authors focused their research efforts on the important metabolic pathways and regulatory genes involved in the production and storage of oils and ricin production in the castor bean. These analyses would allow important comparative studies with other oilseed crops, and could also open possibility for genetic engineering of castor bean to produce oil without the toxin ricin, the news article said.

Dr. Agnes P. Chan, one of the lead authors stated that, "The availability of the castor bean genome will encourage more research into the positive aspects of this oilseed crop as a potential biofuel. Further study will also elucidate many aspects about ricin and enable researchers to potentially eliminate the bioterrorism threat of this natural toxin."

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