Decoding the quinoa genome

28 February 2017

Scientific breakthrough means that the ‘superfood’ could be grown anywhere

Quinoa’s health benefits have made this gluten-free grain the new king of the ‘superfoods’, even more popular than chia seeds and acai berries.

High in protein, a good source of fibre and boasting manganese and a powerful antioxidant, quinoa is so popular on Western menus that demand often outstrips supply sending prices rocketing.

A new scientific breakthrough means that in future the crop could be grown away from the high altitude and cool temperatures of South America where it has traditionally been grown.

Scientists have produced the highest quality quinoa gene sequence to date, and believe they can produce a short, stocky plant that can be grown in different parts of the world.

“We have provided the foundation to enable breeders to work much faster and more powerfully,” project leader Prof Mark Tester, from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, told BBC News. “Especially the seeds, they will be able to develop a lot more varieties for different conditions, they will help us make a designer plant.”

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