The group is headed by Doctor Onkar Nath, whose doctorate thesis was based on the chromosomes of this fruit. This important scientific advance opens up the way to great opportunities for avocado growing all over the world.
“We have completed 98% of the avocado genome and this progress means that we know which genes are responsible for each of this fruit’s characteristics, which gives us the chance to work on achieving what we could call the ‘perfect avocado’. We have almost managed to obtain the complete genome sequence,” Nath points out.
After years of research led by the Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) within the Hort Innovation’s National Tree Genomics Program, scientists have opened up the way to understanding the foundations of the Hass avocado, as a fruit with exceptional flavour and texture.
“At present, the avocado is a fruit that has a very pleasant flavour, but there is still some way to go towards its agronomic improvement, such as the control of the height of the tree, its shape or its resistance to diseases and pests,” the Australian scientist comments.
Professor Robert Henry explains that the Hass variety is the most important one worldwide and it represents 80% of the world production, meaning that the advances that could be made with the genome sequencing will mean a great step forward.
“Obtaining the genome will allow us to understand the plant’s biology better and provide us with many tools to continue with the research.”
Avocados contain some unique sugars and its fat and lipids are also different, and from this point onwards all these singular characteristics may be understood better.
“I think that, after this discovery, Australia will maintain a privileged position throughout the world in researching this fruit. It is a great opportunity that could make Queensland into the leader of all the research on this fruit that has so many devotees around the world.”
Professor Neena Mitter, whose laboratory is also working on many aspects related to the innovation of avocados, including the cultivation of tissues, cryopreservation and the handling of different pests, explained that this opportunity represents a significantly important step forward for the avocado industry.