Genetic secrets of coconut tree unravelled; big leap in Kerala agri sector expected

By: Vinoy Mathew
Kasaragod: A team of Indian scientists have uncovered the genetic secrets of coconut tree. The breakthrough discovery is expected to give a big boost to the agricultural sector of Kerala.

The research was carried out jointly by scientists from the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) in Kasaragod and National Research Centre for Plant Biotechnology (NRCPB) in New Delhi.

The genes that have been identified include those that define height of the tree, colour of the coconut, vulnerability to certain diseases and the quality and quantity of the oil.   

CPCRI Director Dr P Chowdappa was also part of the team. The study was conducted in coconut variety called Chavakkad Green Dwarf (Pachakkullan).

When a human cell has 20,000 to 25,000 genes, one cell of a coconut tree carries 25,000 to 30,000 genes. Experimental cultivation based on the research results will be carried out within a year.

The results will be published in an international science journal next month. Countries like Indonesia, China, Philippines and Saudi Arabia are involved in the studies about the genetic structure of coconut tree.

Achievements

  • Productivity can be improved
  • Will help drug research and studies on improving immunity 
  • Financial gains to the state as it helps to detect diseases early and avoid less productive saplings
  • Easy production of hybrid varieties 


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