China completes whole genome sequencing of goji berry

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, June 26, 2021
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Goji berries [Photo/VCG]

China has completed the whole genome sequencing of the goji berry, a nutritious fruit that has brought fortune and greenery to the country's arid western regions.

The project, led by researcher Cao Youlong with China's Goji Berry Research Institute, was published on Communications Biology, an open access journal from Nature Research, earlier this month.

Cao said the team has selected 13 varieties of the plant, also known as wolfberry, from China, South America, North America and the Middle East to draw the first high-quality genome map.

China's goji berry history dates back thousands of years. In ancient herbal pharmacopeia, the berry's functions included protecting the liver, improving eyesight and conserving strength.

Goji berries are mainly distributed in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region as well as the Qinghai and Gansu provinces, with a total plantation area of over 2 million mu (133,333 hectares). Ningxia, as the plant's core production area, has made goji berry plantation a key industry for desert greening.

China's first goji berry research institute has been inaugurated in Yinchuan, Ningxia's capital, as the region expects it to serve as an open platform to unite innovation teams in transferring research achievements and increasing the value of the industry.

"The genome database can assist breeding and gene-editing technology to cultivate new varieties and improve the synthesis of medicinal substances for the development of drug and health products using the plant, and to increase the added value of the industry," Cao said. 

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