The genome of the pineapple has been unlocked -- but why?
Scientists have managed to unlock the genetic secrets of the mighty pineapple — and it’s not just for curiosity’s sake.
A research team was able to sequence the pineapple’s genome in order to learn about how the plant was able to handle droughts through a special form of photosynthesis, according to a Reuters report.
By unlocking the genome, scientists could create cultivated varieties of pineapple that could better resist disease and insects, as well as have improved shelf life — something that could come in handy as global warming becomes a growing problem worldwide. The tropical fruit was first domesticated 6,000 years ago in Brazil and is now grown worldwide.
Today, they’re actually the second most popular tropical fruit after bananas and are grown in a whopping 80 countries with an annual $8 billion market. This makes them an extremely important fruit to the world economy, and one worth protecting, especially as threats like global warming loom large.
Pineapple has a unique form of photosynthesis that made them a good topic to study. It’s called crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM), which allows it to be highly efficient in its use of water, using up to 80 percent less than other crops, allowing it to grow in arid climates.
It could make the pineapple perhaps the crop of the future as other plants can’t handle the rising temperatures and growing drought conditions.
Their findings were published in the journal Nature Genetics.