Few environmentalists feel any fondness for the oil palm, with its connections to deforestation in the tropics. But the waxy orange pods the tree sprouts in vivid bunches generate 45 percent of the globe’s edible oil, and consuming this incredibly versatile product is almost unavoidable, for it goes into everything from chocolate and peanut butter, to biscuits and cereal. The debate over how to turn palm oil into a sustainable crop has consequently been a priority for some time.
Now, a duo of papers just published in Nature moves a step in that direction, suggesting that breeders could further boost oil palm yields, and in that way significantly reduce the competition between rainforests and palm oil plantations around the world.
Read the full story here: Sequenced palm oil genome paves the way for sustainable plantations