Upcoming Webinars Archived Webinars Training Vitals Host A Webinar About Get Updates Contact

Researchers Decode Quinoa Genome

XTALKS VITALS NEWS

Quinoa

According to the researchers, before the quinoa genome was sequenced, few resources were available for breeding efforts.

Share this!

February 10, 2017 | by Sarah Hand, M.Sc.

In a recent article published in the journal, Nature, researchers at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia have reported on the first high-quality sequence of the Chenopodium quinoa genome. The grain has grown in popularity in recent years due to its gluten-free status and the fact that it is a complete protein, however demand far outstrips supply for the grain.

According to the researchers, before the quinoa genome was sequenced, few resources were available for breeding efforts. This, along with the fact that the crop is only grown in select countries – namely, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador where temperatures are cool and the altitudes are high – explain why quinoa demands such a high price tag.

Using single-molecule real-time sequencing, optical, chromosome-contact and genetic maps, the researchers were able to assemble a reference genome sequence for a coastal Chilean variety of quinoa. The researchers also sequenced a few of quinoa’s ancestors, which could facilitate the identification of sub-species of the grain.

“By sequencing the genome, we have provided the foundation to enable breeders to work much faster and more powerfully,” said senior study author Dr. Mark Tester, professor of plant science at the Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division of KAUST. “Especially the seeds, they will be able to develop a lot more varieties for different conditions, they will help us make a designer plant.”



Tester and his team have already put the newly-sequenced quinoa genome to use. Before quinoa seeds are ready for consumption, bitter compounds known as saponins must be removed. This process contributes to the cost of quinoa, but the researchers believe they may have identified the gene that encodes the compounds.

“We've pinpointed one of the genes that we believe controls the production of saponins in quinoa which would facilitate the breeding of plants without saponins to make the seeds taste sweeter,” said Tester. “For the saponins, that benefit can now be delivered to farmers through conventional breeding.”

According to Tester, their breeding efforts will also focus on producing shorter plants that are more resistant to tipping over and breaking. New quinoa breeds could also be produced to thrive in other environments around the world, potentially increasing production and lowering cost to consumers.

“We need the price of quinoa to go down by a factor of five,” said Tester. “If we get to a similar price to wheat it can be used in processing and in bread making and in many other foods and products. It has the chance to truly add to current world food production.”


Keywords: Food, Genome, Crops


| NEXT ARTICLE | MORE NEWS | BLOGS | VIDEOS | POLLS & QUIZZES | WEBINARS |

Share this with your colleagues!

MORE NEWS
Canadian Regulator Recalls Pie Shells Over E. Coli Contaminated Flour

April 28, 2017 - Multiple brands of pie and tart shells are being recalled in Canada after the flour used to manufacture them was linked to 28 cases of illness due to infection with E. coli O121.

Featured In: Food News


FDA Sends Warning Letters to Manufacturers of Fake Cancer Drugs

April 27, 2017 - The FDA is cracking down on the sale of illegal cancer drugs by sending warning letters to 14 US companies selling the unapproved products.

Featured In: Life Science News, Drug Safety News


Womb-Like Device Could Increase Survival of Premature Babies

April 27, 2017 - Researchers at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have developed a womb-like device which mimics the environmental conditions found inside the uterus.

Featured In: Life Science News, Medical Device News

LEAVE A COMMENT
 
  
THE XTALKS VITALS LIFE SCIENCE BLOG

What Medical Device Manufacturers Need to Know Before Developing a Biological Safety Evaluation

REGISTER FOR THESE WEBINARS

Technology Solutions for Late Phase Research: Optimising Real World Data Assets


Serialization for Late Starters – With Live Industry Research Results


Clinical Not All Antioxidants Are Created Equal: Astaxanthin, The Antioxidant Powerhouse


The New Gold Standards of IRT Delivery for Clinical Trials


Copyright © 2016-2017 Honeycomb Worldwide Inc.