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Cancer Scientists Decode Durian Genome
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: October 11, 2017 11:11AM

Scientists from the Humphrey Oei Institute of Cancer Research, National
Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), and Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore have
mapped the complete genetic map of durian, a tropical fruit known as the
"king of fruits" in Asia.

The research team mapped the genome of the durian variety Musang King ("Mao
Shan Wang" in Chinese), known for its exceptionally delicate texture and
potent aroma, considered as the King of Kings in the local durian world. The
study revealed that the durian genome comprises approximately 46,000 genes -
almost double of the human genome. The evolution of durian was traced
revealing its relationship 65 million years back to the cacao plant which is
used in chocolate.

The research also focused on durian's notorious smell. By comparing gene
activity patterns from different parts of the durian plant, including
leaves, roots, and ripening fruits, they identified a class of genes called
methionine gamma lyases (MGLs) that regulate the production of odor
compounds called volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs). The analysis revealed
that VSC production is turbocharged in durian fruits, confirming claims that
durian smell has a 'sulfury' aspect. The team speculates that in the wild,
the ability of durians to produce high VSC levels and a pungent smell may be
important in attracting animals to eat and disperse durian seeds to other


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