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A New Era In Peanut Breeding
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A Commitment To Go Further

By Amanda Huber print email

One occupation I have come to respect is that of the funeral home owner; it’s one of those jobs that takes very special people. When you are in need of their services – and we all will at some point – it is such a comfort to know and trust the funeral home that will be seeing to your loved ones’ service and interment.

In our area, at the end of the graveside portion of a funeral, you might hear our local funeral home owner say in a soft and comforting voice to the grieving family, “We’ve come as far as we can go.” It’s his way of saying this is as far as you can accompany your loved one.

Although the context is very different, I thought of that phrase while working on the article, “A New Era In Peanut Breeding,” which can be found on page 14. The truth is that we had come as far as we could go with conventional breeding, and although newer, higher-yielding, more disease-resistant varieties were being released every few years, the time factor and incremental gains made by what is now outdated breeding efforts was putting the industry as a whole behind.

On a dollar-value-per-acre basis, peanuts were often uncompetitive when compared to crops such as cotton and corn. New technology and genomic discoveries had completely changed crop breeding programs. It is now known that information gained from crop genome sequencing enables giant leaps in the ability to deliver improved varieties in a timely manner. The peanut industry had to get on board, making a major investment, or resign ourselves to being left further behind. As we have done in the past, the industry pulled together to not only fund this work, but also to do much of this work.

With complete and timely funding, the consortium of peanut researchers is confident that all Peanut Genome Project Research Components will be achieved by the end of 2016. As discoveries are made throughout the project, the results will be made available to all breeders. The result of this investment will be a real “game-changer” in the industry and will get us much further toward being competitive with other crops.

PG
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