Sunflower Genome to be Sequenced

While we’re on the topic of genome sequencing of local interest, Kansans should be well pleased to see that a project is now underway to sequence the genome of the state flower, the sunflower.

That’s perhaps rather more important than it first may seem, as explained in Sunflower Genome Holds the Promise of Sustainable Agriculture from Genome BC:

“The sunflower family includes a number of valuable food crops, with sunflower seed production alone valued at about $14 billion annually. Yet the sunflower family is the only one of a handful of economically important plant families where a reference genome is not available to enable the breeding of crops better suited to their growing environment or consumers tastes.

“A new research project, largely funded by Genome Canada, Genome BC, the US Departments of Energy and Agriculture, and France’s INRA (National Institute for Agricultural Research), will create a reference genome for the sunflower family — currently the world’s largest plant family, containing 24,000 species of plants, including many crops, medicinal plants, horticulture plants and noxious weeds.

“The US$10.5 million research project titled, Genomics of Sunflower, will use next-generation genotyping and sequencing technologies to sequence, assemble and annotate the sunflower genome and to locate the genes that are responsible for agriculturally important traits such as seed-oil content, flowering, seed-dormancy, and wood producing-capacity.

“‘The intent is to have the basis for a breeding program within four years,’ says project leader, Dr. Loren Rieseberg (University of British Columbia).”

Published in: on April 2, 2010 at 3:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

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