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Scientists crack cultivated peanut’s first genome code

In a scientific breakthrough that promises accelerated gene discovery and development of improved peanut varieties, researchers have completed high quality sequencing of the ancestral genomes of the crop.

"This will lead to better peanut varieties with enhanced pod and oil yield, greater disease resistance, drought and heat tolerance and oil quality," the city-headquartered International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) said in a statement. The breakthrough was made by researchers of The International Peanut Genome Initiative (IPGI) led by the University of Georgia, US, and published online yesterday in 'Nature Genetics', a journal in the area of genetics, genomics and biotechnology, it said.

The IPGI is a multi-national group of crop geneticists working in cooperation for several years with 39 scientists from 26 organisations in six countries, including ICRISAT. ICRISAT was involved in project planning, defining the strategy and also contributed to data analysis for the discovery, the statement added. The new peanut genome sequence would be available to researchers and plant breeders across the globe to aid in the breeding of more productive peanut varieties.

It also reveals clues on how the sequence can be useful to crop improvement for sustainable and resilient peanut production that would increase the livelihoods of small farmers.
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