Yellow papaya has more vitamin A than pink varieties, according to research by Andrea Blas, a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa doctoral candidate in molecular biology.
Work on the molecular-genetic basis of color in papaya may help people in the developing world combat nutritional deficiencies, says Blas, who received the Gamma Sigma Delta PhD Student Oral Presentation Award of Merit at the spring 2008 College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources student research symposium and an Achievement Rewards for College Scientists grant.
Such genetic work will be easier, at least in SunUp papaya and hybrids, now that researchers have decoded SunUp’s genome.
An international consortium led by UH Mānoa’s Center for Advanced Studies in Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics sequenced 90 percent of the disease-resistant fruit’s genetic code.
The information answers questions that have kept transgenic papaya out of the Japanese market as well as advancing research on the evolution of flowering plants and supporting future work on disease resistance and nutritional value in papaya.
The work was featured as the April 24, 2008, Nature cover story. Co-lead authors are UH Mānoa microbiologist Shaobin Hou and PhD alumnus Ray Ming, now a University of Illinois associate professor.