University of Jaén and Provincial Government sign an agreement to carry out a research project to sequence the olive tree genome

The University of Jaén (UJA) and the Provincial Government will carry out a research project which will allow to sequence the whole genome of olive tree, its biocomputer assembly as well as the identification and entry of all the genes and duplicate elements, with the purpose of its use in genetic improvement of the olive grove.

After signing the agreement between both parts for the development of this project, the Rector from the University of Jaén, Manuel Parras, explained that taking into account its economic significance and the importance having for the province of Jaén, it will be chosen as a starting point the Picual variety so as to sequence and assemble the olive tree genome. Subsequently, that genome will be validated resequencing another 6 individuals, 3 wild olive trees and 3 genomes from cultivated varieties with economic importance such as Frantoio, Arbequina and Royal.

Moreover, the Rector of UJA pointed out that the project, whose responsible is the professor of Genetics from UJA, Francisco Luque, lasts two years and will be developed in the Technological Park Geolit. In Manuel Parras’ opinion, the signing of this agreement is bound by one of the most important tasks of university, which is knowledge transfer to productive framework. “The genome is a research project which has not been chosen at random, only considering that it is going to provide us very good information so that other researchers can do research and in order to make public policy in this field”.

By his behalf, the president of the Provincial Government, Francisco Reyes, noted that “it is a work that will place the territory leading worlwide production of olive oil on the cutting-edge in research related to the olive grove sector and allow to know the genetic structure of this farming, been in the DNA of our people and those from Jaén”. “This way we undertake to be leading in the world of olive tree research has a first stage consisting of figuring out its structure”. “And it is not a petty challenge, to the extent that, in spite of attempts made until now, nobody had managed to sequence the genetic code of this farming”, he declared.

According to the president of the Provincial Government, “make public this code will allow us later to be able to interpret it together in order to take advantage of this farming, which means to understand what aspect is responsible that the olive tree produce more or less oil; what influences on this oil has more or less quality; or what detail of this genetic sequence makes the olive tree resist better certain plagues”. In short, “it is the first step to protect, know and spread our main and really important farming on the economy of our people and villages”, emphasized Francisco Reyes.

Author: Department of Communication UJA (F.R.R.).

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