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Apr 1, 2010

Peach Genome Sequenced

Lovell peach tree gene sequenced at
Clemson University
On 1 April 2010, Clemson University issued a press release that university scientists at the Clemson University Musser Fruit Research Farm had sequenced the DNA for the Lovell variety peach.  

The completed genome sequence is the "culmination of an extensive research program pioneered at Clemson University under the leadership of Albert “Bert” Abbott, the Robert and Lois Coker Trustees Chair in Molecular Genetics and professor in the genetics and biochemistry department.

The project was part of the overall research that Clemson University and Washington State University have been working on regarding the Genome Database for Rosaceae.  This is a "central repository of genetics and genomics data of Rosaceae, an economically important plant family, including apple, cherry, peach, pear, raspberry, rose and strawberry."  It is likely, "all these plants had common ancestors, and that while they have evolved to be quite different today, their genetic makeup remains similar. As a result, what scientists learn about the peach genome may transfer to these relatives, as the peach genome appears to be relatively unchanged or ancestral in nature. If, for example, scientists identify a peach gene that influences sugar content in the fruit, strawberries and raspberries may have that same gene and it may have the same function."

Clemson genetics program coordinated the American sequencing efforts, which were funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.  Research involved scientists in Italy, Spain and Chile. The Italian government funded the international effort.

At Clemson University's Musser farm in Oconee County "researchers field test[ed] more than 350 different types of peaches, including varieties from Italy, China and France."

"South Carolina is the No. 2 peach producer in the United States. The peach is the state fruit and the peach industry generates approximately $40 million for the state’s economy."

For more see: "Peach DNA unraveled: Clemson University plays major role," Media Relations, Clemson University, 1 April 2010.

To access the published research see: http://www.peachgenome.com/.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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