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Corteve, PepsiCo Sequence Full Oat Genome
USAgNet - 06/29/2020

PepsiCo and Corteva Agriscience are spearheading the industry's first sequencing of the complete oat genome for use in open-source applications. The partnership seeks to leverage this research to advance the resiliency of at-risk food systems, while developing heartier oat varieties with improved supply chain resilience, milling efficiency and differentiated raw materials, both nutritional and functional.

"Hosting the genome publicly will enable additional genome assemblies, which will benefit not only PepsiCo and our Quaker Oats brand, but also the broader oat community. Getting the first genome is the largest hurdle, and now we have a reference and template to work from that will allow continued advancements in oat research," Rene Lammers, Chief Scientific Officer at PepsiCo, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

The full oat genome mapping was completed in four months, in collaboration with academia, government and the private sector. Breeding for better yield is expected to produce more resilient varieties with improved disease resistance and guard against loss in the field; create longer root systems and healthier soils that sequester carbon and reduce water run-off; and reduce the amount of land and other resources needed to grow oats.

In terms of nutrition, oat grains are already rich in fiber and essential nutrients. Understanding a full oat genome improves the ability to target these qualities, ultimately benefiting consumers looking for elevated nutrition profiles from their oats. Meanwhile, in the context of taste, encouraging the consumption of nutrient-dense oats through the introduction of more flavorful varieties can potentially help expand their appeal.

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