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'Tweaking genes could help extend shelf-life of mangoes, boost exports'

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  19 Sep 2016 12:00 AM GMT

Kolkata, Sept 18: Wastage of mangoes cultivated in India, the world’s top producer, due to flawed post-harvest practices can be countered by tweaking certain genes in the “King of Fruits”, say Indian researchers who have identified the ones most prominently involved in ripening of the juicy ‘dashehri’ variety.

India accounts for 42.06 percent of world’s mango production but about a quarter is wasted due to faulty practices during harvesting, packaging and storage. The development by the team from CSIR-tiol Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow, could help change this and drive an uptick in export of the fruit in future by increasing shelf-life through genetic manipulation or by marker-assisted breeding strategies wherein one can quickly screen and spot whether a favourable trait has been introduced from one mango variety into another.

“Every trait in a plant is determined by genes, the place and timing of their expression and the extent to which these are expressed,” Vidhu Sane of NBRI, said. Gene expression is the process by which ‘genetic’ instructions are used to synthesise gene products. “For instance, genes responsible for ripening-related traits such as aroma, taste, colour, softening and the like increase during ripening. Our studies tell us which genes are most prominently involved in these changes,” explained Sane.

“Its domince as the largest producer is poorly translated into intertiol trade. The practical applications of our study are manipulating the genes that are responsible for loss of quality in mangoes which could increase their shelf-life,” said Sane.

Dashehri is very popular in northern India as it is fibreless, delicious in taste with a mild aroma and has very high pulp content. But there is a major roadblock when it comes to exports: The fruit’s rapid and uneven ripening. It ripens from the stone towards the periphery.

The team turned to the transcriptome — the collection of R read-outs that are expressed by a cell’s active genes (in D). These blueprints are needed to translate the information stored in the D into functiol gene products such as proteins, including the hormone involved in the ripening process. (IANS)

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