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February 21, 2018

How the Peanut Genome Initiative is Helping the Long-Term Sustainability of the Peanut Industry

Explore how peanut research by the Peanut Genome Consortium is advancing the peanut industry. 

The peanut industry is a booming one in the U.S., and it’s about to get a leg up from the successful completion of the peanut research of the Peanut Genome Initiative. A team of international scientists have succeeded in mapping the genome of the peanut, which will allow peanut breeders, researchers, and growers to get the most out the peanut plant. See how this scientific breakthrough benefits the peanut industry below. 

The International Peanut Genome Initiative Explained  

A genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. Each genome has all of the information necessary to build and maintain that organism. When an organism’s genome is mapped, researchers know the genetic code that is responsible for the organism’s traits, both good and bad. In this way, researchers can pinpoint specific genes to select in order to display desired characteristics in the organism.

The research itself started with a 2012 call to The Peanut Foundation (IPF) by the industry to complete the peanut research needed to map the genetic code of the peanut plant. The International Peanut Genome Initiative (IPGI) was the result. Researchers from all over the world—including scientists from the University of Georgia (UGA), the University of Florida, and NC State University, just to name a few from the Southeast. The consortium was co-chaired by UGA Professor Scott Jackson. In an UGA article, Jackson shared, “Study of peanut genome structure and order makes a great detective story, where many clues are found and linked together to unlock mysteries of genetics and gene regulation. This is exciting work.”

Benefits of Peanut Research

Steve Brown, executive director of The Peanut Foundation (IPF), shared in the article, “Mapping the genetic code of the peanut proved to be an especially difficult task, but the final product is one of the best ever generated. We now have a map that will help breeders incorporate desirable traits that benefit growers, processors, and most importantly, the consumers that enjoy delicious and nutritious peanut products all over the world.”

Armed with the knowledge of the peanut’s genetic code, researchers can use the information to develop new varieties with many benefits:

  • Greater yields
  • Lower peanut production costs
  • Reduction in losses to disease
  • Improved processing traits
  • Improved nutrition
  • Improved safety
  • Better flavor

Furthermore, the status of the peanut as an important crop in developing areas and as a “key ingredient in Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF),” or foods that are utilized to treat severe acute malnutrition, makes this peanut research all the more important. Bob Parker, president and CEO of the National Peanut Board said in the article, “Peanuts are already more sustainable and affordable than any nut available today…I don’t know that any of us can fully articulate what this advance means to our ability to grow more peanuts with fewer resources to feed the world…”

AgAmerica Lending supports the booming peanut industry in the U.S. with our custom loan packages. We can’t wait to see the next chapter in the peanut industry’s growth. If you’d like to learn more,  contact us today to speak with a land loan expert.

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