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NRGENE ASSEMBLES FIRST ACCURATE BUCKWHEAT GENOME
Source: NRGene news release

Buckwheat researchers from Japan now have access to the most accurate genome available, thanks to NRGene.

The project was done with Dr. Yasuo Yasui, a renowned buckwheat scientist, in cooperation with GeneBay, NRGene's partner in Japan. The results were presented yesterday at the annual meeting of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution in Japan during the seminar: Identification of genes at the S-locus controlling heteromorphic self-incompatibility in buckwheat through genetic and genomic analyses.

Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is neither a grain or a grass. Rather, it is related to rhubarb and is considered a pseudocereal. The "grains" can be eaten as groats (also known as kasha) or farina breakfast porridge. When ground, the flour can be used in noodles or a variety of other foods. Buckwheat is gluten-free and is relatively high in protein, so its popularity has been increasing recently.

Buckwheat can be used as a basis for tea and alcoholic beverages, including gluten-free beer and shochu, a Japanese spirit. Buckwheat is also used as a filling for bed and meditation pillows.

World production of Buckwheat in 2016 was 2.4 million tons, led by Russia and China, with 50% and 17% respectively, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Corporate Statistical Database (FAOSTAT).

The homozygous diploid genome is estimated to have ~1.3 Gbp haploid genome size, and NRGene has assembled 1.27 Gbp with an N50 of 28.8 Mbp, with a negligible gap percentage of 0.5%. As compared to previous publicly available assemblies, NRGene's assembly present a significant-increase of the N50 value and higher accuracy.

"Buckwheat has a very high protein content, which makes it an important crop in the quest to maximize nutrition for the world's ever-increasing population," said Dr. Gil Ronen, CEO of NRGene. "Cooperating with partners worldwide on this type of project gets us that much closer to that goal."


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