A global research team has identified genes in peanuts that when altered can create non-allergenic "super" peanut.
The research was carried out by scientists from the University of Western Australia
and several global research organizations including the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
‘Genes in peanuts identified by decoding the DNA could pave the way for producing non-allergenic peanuts if the genes are altered.’
The genes were identified by decoding the DNA of peanuts. The researchers hope that the discovery will lead to increased crop productivity and nutritional value.
Peanut allergies are highly prevalent in Australia, affecting nearly 3% of the population and can cause a severe allergic response if not treated immediately.
Professor Rajeev Varshney, Research Program Director- Genetic Gains from ICRISAT and also Winthrop Research Professor with UWA's Institute of Agriculture and School of Plant Biology played a lead role in the study.
Professor Varshney, said, "The findings were an important achievement for the agricultural industry and farming community."
"This discovery brings us that one step closer to creating peanuts that will have significant benefits globally. We will also be able to produce peanuts that have more health benefits with improved nutritional value."
The next step would be to alter the genes the researchers had identified in the study and test the results in geocarpy (the productive process in the peanut), to develop new varieties of peanuts, said Professor Varshney.
Dr David Bergvinson, Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, which is one of the project's partners, said: "This will provide an efficient road map for sustainable and resilient groundnut production for improved livelihoods of smallholder farmers particularly in the marginal environments of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa."
The findings have been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)