Jan 23, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

Improved Genome Of Spinach Plants Discovered By Researchers

May 25, 2017 06:45 PM EDT

Popeye is known to be the icon for being healthy and strong as he eats his can of spinach. However, scientists are reported to develop an improved spinach genome that will make many people aside from Popeye healthier and stronger as well.

According to Phys Org, researchers at the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) studied the genetic changes that have occurred among all of the spinach plant ancestors. In order to do so, the researchers have sequenced the transcriptomes (all the RNA) of 120 cultivated Spinacia oleraceas, which known to be the scientific name of spinach plants.

"The spinach genome sequence and transcriptome variants developed in this study provide a wealth of valuable information that can be used to breed spinach with better disease resistance, higher yield, and better quality," study lead researcher Zhangjun Fei said in a statement. The study was identified to be published in the journal Nature Communications.

Outlook India then reported that 24.3 million tons of spinach plants have already been produced since 2014. Gardeners and breeders were then mentioned to never let an opportunity slide to improve the genomes of spinach plants. Such qualities like leaf quality and nutrition were then defined to be some improved by breeders over time. Breeders could then use data in order to avoid crop diseases like downy mildew.

Hence, breeders all over the world could use the genomic information collected in order to fight diseases, which spinach plants are at risk the most. "By analyzing transcriptome variants of a large collection of cultivated and wild spinach accessions, we found that unlike other vegetable crops such as tomato and cucumber, spinach has a weak domestication bottleneck," explained study author Chen Jiao.

Nonetheless, the researchers deemed that the study shows that there is still more room for improvements in spinach genomes. However, pinpointing the genome markers were said to be difficult. Other genomes which are said to be directly attributable traits taken in by spinach plants were considered to be possibly linked with domestic traits such as bolting, leaf number, and stem length as well.

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