The Nerd Side Of Life

Avocado, the Perfect Food, has Genome Sequenced

Is there a more delicious food than the avocado?

No. No there is not. Guacamole is life. Avocado trees are fun and easy to grow from pits. They kind of look like muppet testicles. What’s not to enjoy?

Image: Yum!

A team of scientists from Texas Tech University and others have come together to do mankind’s most important work. They have sequenced the genome of the avocado. Persea americana – to us science types – is a vitally important crop for Mexico and other areas of the world, like sunny San Diego. It also has a deep cultural tie to much of Central and South America. Hence, it was a perfect candidate for a genome sequence.

To quote the study scientists:

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“The avocado is a nutritious, economically important fruit species that occupies an unresolved position near the earliest evolutionary branchings of flowering plants. Our nuclear genome sequences of Mexican and Hass variety avocados inform ancient evolutionary relationships and genome doublings and the admixed nature of Hass and provide a look at how pathogen interactions have shaped the avocado’s more recent genomic evolutionary history. “

Sequencing the genome may help scientists have a better understanding of the avocados place in the great tree of life. It may also help agricultural techniques in producing better, more disease resistant crops of delicious food for us all. Oh, and the genome sequencing also provides some evidence that mangoliids predate the most dominant plant groups we think of when we think of plants, the eudicots (many flowering trees and shrubs) and the monocots (mostly grasses and their kin).

Image: Giant ground sloths, probably enjoying an avocado.

Sadly they don’t yet answer whether or not extinct giant ground sloths were the original eater of avocado fruit.

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