Researchers decipher buckwheat genome to create new varieties

A research team at Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Agriculture has unlocked the precise chromosomal-level genome sequence of buckwheat. This breakthrough sheds light on the crop’s evolution and origin. Through a unique gene-altering technique, they’ve developed a self-fertile buckwheat variation and a new type with a sticky texture reminiscent of mochi. Unlike common genome-editing methods, this approach could enhance diversity in orphan crops.

Their study titled “Genome sequencing reveals the genetic architecture of heterostyly and domestication history of common buckwheat” was published in Nature Plants on August 10, 2023.

As the global population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, the focus on lesser-known orphan crops has grown. By unraveling these crop genomes with advanced sequencing, more efficient breeding becomes possible. This aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including “Zero Hunger,” “Good Health and Well-Being,” and “Responsible Consumption and Production.”

Leading the international research team is Yasuo Yasui from Kyoto University, alongside collaborators from institutions such as RIKEN, Japan’s National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, Chiba University, Kyoto Prefectural University, Kazusa DNA Research Institute, The Graduate University for Advanced Studies (SOKENDAI), Yunnan Agricultural University, and the University of Cambridge.

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