Two Bangladeshi institutions alongside three Canadian ones have sequenced the genome of a variety of jackfruit that grows all year round.
The five institutions are the Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU), Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), Canada’s Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS), the National Research Council of Canada, and the University of British Columbia, said a press release issued on December 10.
The research, led by Prof Tofazzal Islam and funded by the Ministry of Education, was recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Plant Science.
Bangladesh is the second-largest producer of jackfruit in the world. But as it has a lot of varieties and grows only in one season, the country has yet to start commercial farming of the fruit.
The researchers hope that through biotechnology it will now be possible to develop new varieties of jackfruit with different flavours and characteristics, which will lead to the commercial farming of jackfruit and the development of a processing industry.
They completed the genome sequencing using Illumina next-generation sequencing (NGS) systems at the IBGE.
Prof Tofazzal Islam said: “We are the first in the world to conduct genome sequencing of BARI Kathal 3, a variety that produces fruit all year round.”
The variety grows naturally in the hills of Ramgarh in Chittagong and bears fruit from September to June.
“The taste and nutritional value of the variety is also excellent,” said Prof Tofazzal Islam.
Another researcher, Dr Andrew Sharpe, director of genomics and bioinformatics at GIFS, said not much research had been done on jackfruit, the national fruit of Bangladesh, at the molecular level. “It is an important fruit for ensuring nutrition and food security.”
The genome sequencing had opened a new door in the research of jackfruit, he added.