Beijing: Chinese scientists claimed to have sequenced the genome of the sweet orange, which can help to understand the complex genetic make-up of the crop in order to improve its quality and yield.
After a year`s effort, a team of horticulture, genomics and bioinformatics experts from Central China Agricultural University in Wuhan successfully assembled and annotated the genome sequence of the plant, marking the first time that Chinese scientists have independently determined the genome sequence of a fruit crop.
Deng Xiuxin, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering said the sequencing of the genome marks the establishment of an ideal research platform for biotechnology and genetic engineering in China, and it is also gravely important for improving breeding and upgrading the crop`s industrial competitiveness, state news agency Xinhua reported.
The sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), which originated in China, is the most commonly grown fruit tree in the world, and its production accounts for about 60 per cent of total citrus production.
The sweet orange, mostly poly-embryonic, is highly heterozygous, which means it has dissimilar pairs of genes for any hereditary characteristic, and is plagued by sterility.
Therefore, determining its genetic make-up can provide a sound scientific basis for genetic and breed development work, said Xu Qiang, an expert with the University.
China, the world`s largest grower of citrus, has produced 26.45 million tonnes of citrus across 2.21 million hectares in 2010.