Biotech Updates

Crop Genetics to Battle Harsh Conditions

September 23, 2011

Researchers from New Mexico State University (NMSU) and the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) developed a system that reviews the collections of genetic information on peanuts that are stored in gene banks around the world.

"Gene banks around the world have large collection of peanut germplasm and it is unmanageable for any organization to accurately screen such large collections for useful traits," said NMSU researcher and professor Naveen Pupalla. In an article in Crop Science, the study reported that a core collection to the Valencia peanut was developed representing genetics from 15 countries.

Through further collaborative research with scientists from U.S. universities, the USDA-ARS Cropping System Research Lab and the National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute, scientists placed the genetic information they gathered into five distinct location-based groups. This allowed them to determine which areas contain the most genetic diversity for the Valencia peanut. They found Brazil to be the primary center of origin for the Valencia peanut, a cultivar that is able to thrive in harsh environments.

The findings in this study may help develop crop cultivars that are able to thrive in harsh and changing environments.

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