Scientists Map Peanut Genetic Code

An international group of agricultural scientists have mapped the genetic code of the peanut, according to the non-profit Peanut Foundation, which directs and supports peanut research on behalf of the peanut industry. The culmination of a five-year research project will give scientists around the world a map with which to unlock some of the genetic potential of the peanut plant. The data will be openly available to all scientists. This discovery by the Peanut Genome Consortium, a group of scientists from the U.S., China, Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, India, Israel, and several countries in Africa, gives scientists the capability to find beneficial genes in cultivated and wild peanuts that can lead to greater yields, lower production costs, lower losses to disease, improved processing traits, improved nutrition, improved safety, better flavor and virtually anything that is genetically determined by the peanut plant. “Study of peanut genome structure and order makes a great detective story, where many clues are found and linked together to unlock mysteries of genetics and gene regulation. This is exciting work,” said University of Georgia Professor and Eminent Scholar Scott Jackson, chair of the Peanut Genome Consortium. The U.S. team included scientists from the University of Georgia, University of California-Davis, Texas A&M University, N.C. State University, Auburn University, University of Florida and the USDA-ARS in Tifton and Griffin, and in Stillwater, Ok.; Ames, Iowa; and Stoneville, Miss. In 2012, the United States peanut industry urged the Peanut Foundation to initiate research to map the genetic code of the peanut plant. The International Peanut Genome Initiative was, and remains, the largest research project ever funded by the industry, with the $6 million cost shared equally among growers, shellers and manufacturers.  “Mapping the genetic code of the peanut proved to be an especially difficult task, but the final product is one of the best ever generated,” said Steve Brown, executive director of the Peanut Foundation. “We now have a map that will help breeders incorporate desirable traits that benefit growers, processors, and most importantly, the consumers that enjoy delicious and nutritious peanut products all over the world.”

Source: Tifton Grapevine