Biotech Updates

Diversity of Cabbage Species Explained

November 11, 2011

The genome of the Chinese cabbage is now completed and published in Nature Genetics. The report provides evidence that the large number of genes that regulate flowering time may have affected the many variations of crops under the brassica species. In addition, occurrence of extra genes may be due to the tripling of genetic material between five and nine million years ago. However, a few groups of genes do seem to be kept and this made the eventual diversity of cabbage possible.

'The research is especially of use to the breeding sector', says Guusje Bonnema, assistant professor of Plant Breeding at Wageningen University and member of the international research team. 'Breeders always need markers'. Such markers in the genome reveal the presence of a particular gene, such as one for virus resistance, for example. Breeders can then select for this gene, making it easier to cross-breed genes into other species.

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