PepsiCo and Corteva Agriscience announce ‘first-ever’ open-source sequencing of oat genome

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Unveiling the ‘first-ever’ sequencing of the full oat genome for use in open-source applications, PepsiCo and Corteva Agriscience completed the sequence in just four months thanks to their collaborative efforts.

This initiative drew in experts from several quarters, including academia, government and the private sector.

“Through our collaboration with Corteva and a number of key partners, we were able to unlock answers to the difficult problem of sequencing the entire oat genome in just a few months’ time, a project that will benefit our own Quaker Oats brand and the broader oat community,”​ said Dr René Lammers, PepsiCo chief science officer.

Primary project contributors include:
• Corteva
• Crop Development Centre at the University of Saskatchewan
• University of North Carolina Charlotte

“We are at an exciting time in oat genomics as technological advances have taken the oat community to the forefront of understanding how complex polyploid genomes function. This public-private partnership with PepsiCo continues to benefit the whole oat community,”​ said Dr Jessica Schlueter, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina Charlotte.

The soda giant hopes the development would help advance the resiliency of at-risk food systems while leading to heartier oat varieties with improved taste, sustainability & nutrition. The initiative is part of the US multinational food and beverages maker’s broader effort to use its ‘scale and reach’ to help build a more sustainable food system.

“With this open-source approach, we hope to advance the science of oat breeding and ultimately improve food and nutrition security and farmer livelihoods worldwide,”​ PepsiCo’s Dr Lammers elaborated.

Corteva and PepsiCo are publicly releasing the genome in an attempt to advance oat research, as per the latest inputs.

The discovery can help advance sustainable production, and there is also potential to leverage the research to improve soil health. It’s also possible that the amount of land and other natural resources needed to grow oats could be reduced by developing new oat varieties. The development can also spur agronomic innovations worldwide.

According to experts, understanding the oat genome is also likely to unlock the possibility of developing more nutritious varieties.