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Int’l Scientific Team Unravels Genomes of 418 Varieties of Canola

An international team of scientists, including a team at the University of Western Australia, have successfully mapped the genomes of 418 varieties of rapeseed with the goal of identifying traits that can be isolated and plant breeders in order to improve crop yields.

The four-year collaborative project conducted by teams in Australia, the U.S., and China, was outlined in the study, Genomic selection and genetic Architecture of Agronomic Traits During Modern Rapeseed Breeding, published in Nature Genetics.

Canola is the second largest oil-producing crop in the world. As such, breeders have historically studied the potential for adaption, yield, and quality of canola. But the knowledge concerning the genetics underlying other factors such as the architecture of the plant, its seed weight, and oil content remains lacking due to those traits being controlled by multiple genes.

By unraveling the genomes of 418 diverse, global varieties of canola from various geographic locations, the team was able to identify the genes behind 56 traits that were modified during rapeseed improvement, giving the scientists real insight that should accelerate future breeding for crop improvement.

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