Pineapple is a tropical fruit enjoyed the world over, best known for pina coladas, upside down cake and Hawaiian pizza, the fruit has always been a sort of tasty mystery. Now pineapple’s genetic secret has been revealed by scientists.
Scientists have stated that they have sequenced pineapple’s genome and have learned about the genetic underpinning of the plant’s drought tolerance and special form of photosynthesis.
The research appears in the journal Nature Genetics.
University of Illinois plant biologist Ray Ming has stated that the genome sequencing of pineapple offers the base for creating developed forms that are enhanced for insects and disease resistance and better quality and an increased shelf life.
Pineapples that were initially grown in southwestern Brazil and eastern Paraguay about 6,000 years ago are grown in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide now and fetch big money for people.
Pineapples are native to the tropics but due to a growing demand world over, they are also grown in subtropical areas. The plant can adjust itself according to a variety of soils, provided the soil possess the characteristics of good drainage, aeration and a low P.H.
Ming stated that, “The typical flavor and aroma of pineapples made them a popular fruit worldwide and industrial production of pineapple in Hawaii a century ago has played an important role.”
Pineapples use CAM, which is crassulacean acid metabolism. CAM photosynthesis is a carbon fixation pathway that evolved in some plants as a variation to arid conditions. The stomata in the leaves remain shut during the day to reduce evapotranspiration and during the night they collect carbon dioxide (CO2). As compared to other photosynthesis plants, plants with CAM use less water comparatively and enable itself to grow in arid, marginal lands unsuited for most crops.
Some of the pineapple’s photosynthesis genes are led by the circadian clock genes and these genes allow the plants to differentiate between day and night and adjust their metabolism according to the situation.
Ming said that the CAM photosynthesis process allows the plants close pores in their leaves when it is day and opens them at night, helping preserve moisture. CAM photosynthesis is a recurrent adaptation, with numerous independent origins across 35 diverse families of vascular plants.
Aware of worldwide environmental change estimates, the scientists said comprehending the pineapple genome may lead to drought resistance in different plants like rice and wheat to utilize CAM photosynthesis.
Plant molecular biologist Qingyi Yu of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center at Dallas, said, “As such, CAM photosynthesis applications can benefit the entire food industry to a great extent.”