2.) Use of DNA markers for high-oleic acid peanut oil and nematode resistance to develop the high O/L variety Tifguard. This achievement was a major breakthrough in peanut genetics because it convinced breeders that MAS could shorten the time for developing a new variety from 12 to 15 years to about five years.

3.) Ability to superimpose DNA-marker maps on individual chromosomes to better locate genes.

The Peanut Genome Project is composed of six research components that are necessary for generating useful tools from the genome sequence for researchers and breeders. U.S. breeders and researchers were assigned lead roles in each research component. A brief description follows:

• Research Component 1: This work involves sequencing the genome to help breeders find genes on each peanut chromosome.  

• Research Component 2: This work enables the identification of thousands of DNA markers in wild and cultivated peanuts. 

• Research Component 3: This work identifies all genes (many genes may govern a trait) in the genetic networks for resistance to diseases like TSWV, tolerance to stresses like drought; and seed quality traits like higher levels of folate. 

• Research Component 4: This work explores new options in genome sequencing technology that may help reduce the PGP budget and still ensure high quality genomic data. New technology already has reduced the budget for research Component 1 from $5.6 million to $2.8 million.

• Research Component 5: This work goes hand in hand with identification of DNA-markers by showing what traits the markers mark. These associations are critical to the identification of genes.

• Research Component 6: This work provides a home for storage and a caretaker for web-based genomic libraries and the Breeder’s Toolbox in Santa Fe, N.M. at the National Center for Genome Resources (NCGR) and other U.S. locations.  

The Peanut Genome Project Budget for the next five years is projected as follows: $1,460,000 (2012); $1,790,000 (2013); $1,510,000 (2014); $620,000 (2015); and $620,000 (2016).

“The cost must be measured against the anticipated returns on investment,” states the white paper.

“Obviously, all desired traits will not be discovered or available at the beginning of the project. They will be discovered and developed over time. But, assuming that all varieties in commercial production had superior disease resistance and desired traits, the savings and increased revenue are estimated to be over $200 million, recurring each year.

“With complete and timely funding of the Peanut Genome Project budget, the consortium of peanut researchers is confident that all Peanut Genome Project Research components will be achieved by the end of 2016.

“As in all research, nothing is a certainty. However, as discoveries are made throughout the project, the results will be disclosed and available to all breeders whether they use conventional, MAS or GMO technology. In summary, all breeding methods will be helped by the discovery of more useful DNA markers.”