Genetic variation in peanuts
Peanut production requires costly inputs such as pesticides to control diseases and pests, and irrigation to maximize yield and reduce aflatoxin contamination. Peanut producers need a more cost-effective production system, which can be achieved in part by improving the genetics of the crop for host-plant resistance. In addition, resistance traits need to be combined with quality traits that make the product more marketable. Using genome sequence and trait data, UGA horticulturists identified molecular markers for late leaf spot and nematode resistance and successfully used to accelerate breeding and selection for these traits. Application of molecular markers saves time during the selection process during breeding and reduces the cost to advance breeding lines by early elimination of lines unlikely to possess a desired trait. More rapid deployment of improved cultivars with excellent production characteristics stacked with genetic disease resistance contributes to economic and environmental sustainability. Genetic resistance to pests and diseases will reduce chemical inputs needed for control, resulting in a healthier crop and reduction of costs to the grower.