Scientists have successfully decoded the genome of quinoa, one of the world’s most nutritious but underutilised crops.
[P]rices for quinoa have rocketed in recent years as demand exceeded supply.
Researchers believe the genetic code will rapidly lead to more productive varieties that will push down costs.
Using a combination of techniques, the researchers have produced the highest quality quinoa gene sequence to date.
“By sequencing the genome we have provided the foundation to enable breeders to work much faster and more powerfully,” project leader Prof Mark Tester, from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), told BBC News.
“Especially the seeds, they will be able to develop a lot more varieties for different conditions, they will help us make a designer plant.”
The scientists believe that the genetic understanding now gained will allow them to breed shorter, stockier plants that don’t fall over as easily, and these benefits could be gained without the use of genetic modification.
They believe that these new breeds will see quinoa grown in more parts of the world – and that greater supply will push down the price.
The study has been published in the journal Nature.
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