Summary: Article | Reuters http://www.reuters.com/articlePrint?articleId=USN2339260120080424
1 of 1 4/24/2008 6:47 PM
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Papaya genome bares evolution's secrets
Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:13pm EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Papayas have extra copies of genes that make
them sweet and nutritious, researchers reported on Wednesday in a study
that can help shed light on how flowering plants evolved.
They published the complete genetic sequence of the "SunUp" papaya, a
tree genetically engineered to be virus resistant.
Writing in the journal Nature, they said the plant has fewer genes than the
more thoroughly studied weed Arabdopsis, yet has a longer DNA sequence.
They believe they have pinpointed genes responsible for helping tree-like
plants evolve, and genes that helped make it smell and taste so good,
attracting animals and people to spread its seeds.
Papayas have extra genes that appear to code for these aromas and for
storing starch, presumably in the fruit.
"This also foreshadows what we might expect to discover in the genomes of
other fragrant-fruited trees, as well as plants with striking fragrance of leaves
(herbs), flowers or other organs," Maqsudul Alam of the University of Hawaii