doi:10.1038/nindia.2016.115 Published online 7 September 2016
India produces 42% of the world’s mangoes (Mangifera indica) but about a quarter of this gets wasted. Researchers now report that this wastage can be reduced through proper understanding of gene families involved in fruit ripening by sequencing the fruit's "transcriptome"1.
In contrast with genome, which is "stable", the transcriptome – the full range of messenger RNA molecules expressed by an organism – varies reflecting the genes that are expressed at any given time. In their comparative study, the researchers sequenced the transcriptomes during unripe and ripe stages of development of Dashehari, a popular Indian mango variety. In all, they obtained 74,312 unique transcripts relating to 127 pathways and found a differential expression pattern of several ripening related genes between unripe and ripe mangoes.
"Fruit ripening requires the coordinated expression of genes related to ethylene biosynthesis and signal transduction, cell wall loosening and expansion, flavour and pigment formation," the researchers note. The transcriptome study reveals differences not only in expression of softening associated genes but also those that govern ethylene biosynthesis and other nutritional characteristics.
"This could help develop ripening related markers for selective breeding to reduce the problems of excess jelly formation during softening," they say.
1. Srivastava, S. et al. Comparative transcriptome analysis of unripe and mid-ripe fruit ofMangifera indica (var. “Dashehari”) unravels ripening associated genes. Sci. Rep. 6, 32557 (2016) doi: 10.1038/srep32557