1 July, 2015

New research to investigate mango genome sequencing

From left to right: Dr Ian Bally, Dr Rajeev Varshney, Dr Alok Kumar, Dr David Innes, Dr Natalie Dillon.

Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation) has commissioned a new Research and Development initiative to sequence and assemble the mango genome of the popular Australian cultivar, Kensington Pride.

A fully assembled mango genome sequence has not been published, but it is expected that in a world’s first, the sequence information will provide better understanding of mango genetics. This will particularly reveal more about genes controlling quality, production and other traits of interest including disease resistance, fruit colour, fruit ripening, tree physiology, tree height and architecture.

This understanding will help identify DNA-based markers linked to these traits and allow mango breeders to develop efficient strategies to incorporate such traits into the commercial cultivars. The preliminary assembled sequence information is expected by September 2015.

Hort Innovation CEO, Mr John Lloyd, is excited at the prospect the project will provide a long term benefit for Australian growers and consumers.

“It is critical to develop modern innovative tools to enhance crop productivity in Australian horticulture. This project will do exactly that by providing research scientists with a better understanding when handling complex genomes such as mango,” Mr Lloyd said.

International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT), India in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland, will be the major research providers of the initiative. Recently, HIA entered into a strategic research partnership with ICRISAT.

ICRISAT Director General, Dr David Bergvinson, believes it is a great opportunity for ICRISAT to be associated with Hort Innovation and to extend technical help in assembling the genome sequence of mango.

“The results from this research will help develop improved mango varieties and methods, with the potential to provide all mango farmers additional ways to generate income,” Mr Bergvinson said.

Hort Innovation and ICRISAT are also discussing other areas of research in horticulture including the development of molecular markers in mango.