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Researchers decode strawberry genome


An international team of more than 70 researchers, including 13 from Oregon State University, has sequenced the genome of a wild strawberry -- a breakthrough that could accelerate genetic improvements in several fruit crops.


"This will accelerate research that will lead to improved crops, particularly commercial strawberries," said OSU plant molecular biologist Todd Mockler, who was involved in the research. "It could lead to fruit that resists pests, smells better, tolerates heat, requires less fertilizer, has a longer shelf life, tastes better or has an improved appearance."


The researchers published their results in late December in an article in the journal Nature Genetics.


As part of their work, the scientists identified genes they think are responsible for characteristics such as flavor, aroma, nutritional value, flowering time and disease response.


In all, the researchers identified 34,809 genes on seven chromosomes in the woodland strawberry Fragaria vesca.


Mockler's lab also is assembling the genome sequencing of eight hazelnut varieties, a wild grass, apples, cherries, peaches, blueberries and black raspberries.


-- Mitch Lies



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