A CONSORTIUM, which includes the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and Orion Genomics, is expected to come out with the second genetic code of the oil palm genomes by middle of next year, says MPOB Director-General Datuk Dr Mohd Basri Wahid.
“We have already done the first genetic code and now we are going into the second era which is the second genetic code. The second genetic code is associated with the silencing of certain genes,” he told Bernama on the sidelines of the International Palm Oil Congress 2009 (PIPOC 2009) in Kuala Lumpur today.
Genome refers to the complete genetic profile from DNA sequencing.
Mohd Basri said the consortium has sequenced three oil palm genomes from two oil palm species – E. oleifera, which is native to South America, and E. guineensis, which originates in Africa.
He said the genome sequencing effort provides a comprehensive genetic blueprint of E.oleifera and E.guineensis including the pisifera and dura palms.
MPOB and its partners took about 11 months to do the sequencing of the three oil palm genomes, he said.
Mohd Basri explained that the knowledge of the genomic sequence of the oil palm varieties will enable researchers to understand genetic differences between trees.
“Having access to the genome information will expedite efforts to improve productivity and add value to the oil palm,” he said.
Mohd Basri said MPOB had allocated RM100 million for the development of oil palm genome project and about 50 local scientists and researchers are involved in the project.
The consortium also included The Genome Center at Washington University, South Korea-based Macrogen, Inc. and Adelaide, Australia-based GeneWorks Pty Ltd.
Source : Business Times