The tropical tree whose fruit packs a vitamin-rich punch has become the fifth flowering plant to reveal its genome. An international team of researchers has unveiled a draft of the catalog of genetic information needed to make papaya.
It is the first time researchers have compiled the genome of
a transgenic fruit crop — the papaya variety had been genetically modified for
protection against a virus. The work will help scientists develop a quick way
to determine the sex of a papaya tree — plants with both male and female
flowers are the only ones farmed for fruit, but currently these plants can’t be
distinguished from all-male or all-female plants until the trees are 3 to 4
months old. “This will really help the farmers,” says Maqsudul Alam, who led
the project at the
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