Peach DNA unraveled

By Peter Kent

A peach tree at the Musser Fruit Research Farm has had its entire DNA sequenced, enabling further research to identify beneficial traits to grow better trees and fruit.

This genome sequence is the culmination of an extensive research program pioneered at Clemson under the leadership of Bert Abbott, who holds the Robert and Lois Coker Trustees Chair in Molecular Genetics. The research goal is to establish the peach as a model for identifying and understanding genes that are critical for deciduous tree growth and development.

“The tree providing the DNA for the sequencing effort was chosen after careful analysis of DNA from specific trees in the Musser orchard,” said Abbott. “The choice of this tree was crucial to the overall success of the project, and the extremely high quality of the peach genome sequence assembly is a direct result of this choice.”

The Clemson research gained international attention when the Joint Genome Institute, a federally funded sequencing facility, identified sequencing the genome of peach as one of the key plant species of interest worldwide.

The tree’s DNA sequence has opened a new era in fruit-tree research that could have far-reaching implications for the future of peaches and many other related plants, including apples, cherries, pears, raspberries, strawberries and roses.

 

 

For more information: Bert Abbott, 864-656-3060, aalbert@clemson.edu.