Findings could lead to new varieties

US researchers deciphering the walnut genome

Currently, California produces 99 percent of the walnuts grown in the United States. New research could provide a major boost to the state's growing $1.6 billion walnut industry. How? By making it easier to breed walnut trees better equipped to combat the soil-borne pathogens that now plague many of California's 4,800 growers.

In a new study, a team of scientists at the University of California, Davis, and USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) used a unique approach to sequence the genomes of the English walnut and its wild North American relative by tapping into the capabilities of two state-of-the-art technologies: long-read DNA sequencing and optical genome mapping. The resulting genome sequences are believed to be of the highest quality ever assembled of any woody perennial.

According to an article on sciencedaily.com , this approach could be applied to genome sequencing of trees and many other woody perennials, opening the door to a better understanding of the genetic blueprints of almonds, pecans, pistachios and grapes.


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