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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Opinion

Avocado discovery is inspiring


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Avocados are usually thought of as a side dish, but they can also be inspiring on a genomic level. | Jiselle Santos/ The Cougar

Earlier this year, scientists from around the world successfully sequenced the Hass avocado genome. The Hass avocado is the most commonly farmed type of avocado on planet Earth.

Students should burst with glee, as they now have better ways to understand flowering plant relationships. Having the full avocado genome lays the groundwork for developments in genetic engineering, which students should pursue to make Earth a better place. 

Scientists took out DNA from Hass and Mexican avocados in order to compare their genomes. They discovered the Mexican avocado passed down 61 percent of its genes to the Hass avocado. This allows people to understand relationships in the avocado plant family. It also shows how genes impacted the avocado’s growth.  

All of this is important, as students can use the genome to learn more about biology. This will be good because it helps spark interest about the natural world. Students are in a position where it is not too late to discover new facts about the world and use it to better the future.

Furthermore, students can use the sequenced genome to further research in genetic engineering. The full genome allows for people to pick out genes to change in the avocado. This can improve farming and reduce the human impact on the natural world. Gene editing will allow crops to survive the effects of climate change. It will improve their disease resistance and increase their productivity.  

The genome might also explain how avocados relate to other flowering plants.

Certain proteins show avocados belong to a group of plants that evolved long before other types of flowering plants developed. This might explain why avocados are so different from other flowers. Finding out the relationships between groups of flowering plants has been a thorn in the side of scientists for years. It is possible the results of the study are not true, but the genome moves scientists one step closer to an answer.  

Students should apply the information learned from the genome to other parts of their lives. Learning how the world works can lead to better understanding of the past. It will also lead to solutions to the problems of the present. Like the scientists picking at the sequenced genome, students should strive to find new things in the world around them, as it will lead to a better future.

Opinion assistant editor Santiago Gaughan is a construction management freshman and can be reached at [email protected]

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