Scientists led by the National Laboratory of Genomics for Biodiversity
(LANGEBIO) in Mexico, Texas Tech University, and the University at Buffalo
in the USA have sequenced the avocado genome. The scientists report their
findings in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences (PNAS). The study sheds light on the origins of the fruit and lays
the groundwork for future improvements to farming.
The study reveals that the popular Hass avocado, which comprises the bulk of
all avocados grown and eaten around the world, inherited about 61 percent of
its DNA from Mexican varieties and about 39 percent from Guatemalan ones.
Aside from the Hass avocado, the scientists also sequenced avocados from
Mexico, Guatemala, and the West Indies, which are home to genetically
distinct, native cultivars of the fruit. The paper also reports that the
avocado went through two ancient polyploidy events. Many of the duplicated
genes were eventually deleted, but some developed new and useful functions.
The research provides key reference material for learning about the function
of individual avocado genes, and for using genetic engineering to boost
productivity of avocado trees, improve disease resistance and create fruit
with new tastes and textures.