Where’d pineapple come from? Study explores the evolution of an ever-popular tropical fruit

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GMO pink pineapples produce lower levels of the enzymes that convert the pink pigment lycopene to the yellow pigment beta carotene.

Researchers have now gained new insights on how human agriculture helped shape the evolution of pineapple. Led by University of Illinois Professor of Plant Biology Ray Ming, the international team of researchers published their analysis of the genome of the red pineapple, a plant grown for fiber production and as an ornamental, in Nature Genetics. The research team also examined new sequence data for other key pineapple cultivars grown for fruit, leading to new insights into the genetic responses of the plant to centuries of domestication and cultivation.

The study supports the hypothesis that domestication of crops that are propagated without using seeds, through cuttings or other means, can be domesticated in a single step. Ming and his team assembled the genome of red pineapple, Ananas comosus var. bracteatus, grown in gardens for decoration or to form a security hedge. Unlike other pineapple cultivars, this pineapple is able to self-pollinate.

Related article:  Is organic produce hazardous to your health?

The research group sequenced and assembled the red pineapple genome using the genome of previously sequenced fruit pineapple as a reference and comparator …. They were able to trace how natural and artificial selection shaped key traits and established distinct varieties.

Read full, original article: Crop Biotech Update October 10, 2019

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