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Earth Science

Scientists Successfully Decode the Genome of Quinoa (bbc.com) 292

Gr8Apes writes: Scientists have successfully decoded the genome of quinoa, a hugely popular "super-food" because it is well balanced and gluten-free. They have pinpointed one of the genes that they believe control the production of saponins (bitter toxic compounds that protect the plant from predators) which can facilitate the breeding of plants without saponins, resulting in sweeter seeds without having to process them. The scientists also believe that the genetic understanding now gained will allow them to breed shorter, stockier plants that don't fall over as easily, and that these benefits could be gained without the use of genetic modification. Furthermore, the researchers believe the genetic code will rapidly lead to more productive varieties that will push down costs. "We need the price of quinoa to go down by a factor of five," said project leader Professor Mark Tester, from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. "If we get to a similar price to wheat it can be used in processing and in bread making and in many other foods and products. It has the chance to truly add to current world food production." The study has been published in the journal Nature.
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Scientists Successfully Decode the Genome of Quinoa

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  • Quinoa is bloody convenient, but I've never been able to warm up to the taste. A version that didn't have the saponins in it would be a huge improvement. Ain't science wonderful?

    • by tpgp ( 48001 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2017 @10:46PM (#53830657) Homepage

      Quinoa is convenient? How is it more convenient than rice?

      I'm the opposite of you, I find Quinoa inconvenient (only because of the price), but is is really tasty. I substitute out about 1/3 of my rice with red/black Quinoa & add 1/3 extra water to the rice cooker & get a lovely rice with different coloured seeds scattered through it, giving it a nuttiness, crunch & depth of flavour you don't get with plain rice.

      • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2017 @10:52PM (#53830691) Homepage Journal

        If you want nuttiness and crunchiness in your rice, add nuts.

      • Have both (Score:5, Informative)

        by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2017 @11:14PM (#53830761)

        Costco has really tasty pre-packaged packets of brown rice and Quinoa (under the brand Seeds of Change), that you can heat in five minutes,

        I know what you are thinking. Pre-packaged? Brown rice? Quinoa? How could any of that be tasty?

        Normally I hate packaged foods myself and always cook everything from raw. I've never liked brown rice, sometimes hated it, and while I like most Quinoa more, I only like it for particular uses.

        But for whatever reason, these packets that Costco has are actually really tasty. Somehow the taste of the brown rice and Quinoa mesh together to make something very good, and something you can have with any protein instead of normal rice.

        I imagine it's healthier too but I honestly do not care because I just find it tastier.

        There's nothing un-pronouncable or strange in the ingredients either - brown rice and quinoa are the first two ingredients and it's just some spices after that.

        Cook it in a skillet and it is great. The instructions say without water but I prefer cooking it as is, and you get some nice crunch in it. So tasty.

      • by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @01:12AM (#53831047)

        How is it more convenient than rice?

        Rice is very water intensive to grow. Quinoa is no where even close.

      • by hughbar ( 579555 )
        Yes, me too, I add it into the rice in my rice cooker. I'm not aware of any real bitterness and I hate the idea messing with the genetics of stuff to improve 'taste'. Sturdier plants, I can see the purpose of that.

        Next stop is probably tef: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] unhappily, when Westerners latch on to things, the price rises, with predictable results for the poorer producers.
        • unhappily, when Westerners latch on to things, the price rises, with predictable results for the poorer producers.

          What, they become less poor?

      • Why not adding buckwheat? The effect should be similar, but for a way lower price (in Germany at least, buckwheat is seriously cheaper than quinoa)

    • No matter how its prepared the taste is always there under everything else and I find it quite unpleasant.

    • If it's got a bitter taste, are you rinsing it enough? I find bitterness can be an issue if it is not thoroughly rinsed several times before cooking. There's also some pre-rinsed brands on the market now.

      Also, maybe try the red quinoa if you can. Personally, I think the red one on the market is better than the white varieties.

  • by F34nor ( 321515 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2017 @10:47PM (#53830659)

    So what? Someone already bred a low saponin Quinoa that immediately harvested by the birds. Maybe leaving in the natural pesticide that is easy to process is a good idea?

  • I can't even reliably pronounce or spell its name.
  • And how do you cook it ?

    • It's the GMO rice with vitamin A precursors. Sounds like it should have a different taste than regular rice.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

        It's the GMO rice with vitamin A precursors. Sounds like it should have a different taste than regular rice.

        It tastes OK, but the additional arm it's grown on my back makes sleeping inconvenient. However, it's nice to be able to type and scratch my ass at the same time.

      • If you want vitamin A (and a whole bunch of other nutrients), eat some liver.
        • It's about the flavor.

        • If you want vitamin A (and a whole bunch of other nutrients), eat some liver.

          Liver not only tastes far worse it is full of cholesterol and is part of the body that absorbs lots of toxins. Liver has the highest concentration of mercury, lead, and other harmful heavy metals of any part of the body. Pesticides eaten by the animal in the feed also tends to concentrate in the liver.

          Liver tastes bad and is very bad for you. Quite the opposite of quinoa which tastes good and is good for you.

    • Rinse it thoroughly several times (when water runs off it the water should be clear) and throw it in a rice cooker. I like to make a bed of it and throw something else on top, like a curry or stir fry, much like one would use rice.

    • And how do you cook it ?

      It tastes like rice with a pleasant richness behind it. I'm not sure where all these people are coming from on Slashdot saying it tastes bad/bitter, I've never had bad/bitter quinoa, these are probably the same people who eat nothing but McDonalds for lunch every day and never eat vegtables.

      I like to fry the seeds in a little olive oil in a deep skillet for a few minutes before cooking it in the same way as rice... gives it a slight toasty flavor.

  • Have they figured out a way to prepare it that doesn't taste like crap and hippy sweat? That would be news.
    • Have they figured out a way to prepare it that doesn't taste like crap and hippy sweat? That would be news.

      Tell you what, take yourself to the Green Seed restaurant on Almeda St in Houston and order the Big Tex quinoa burger. It's got this toasted zucchini that tastes like bacon and is goddamn delicious. Seriously, if you've never tasted quinoa made well, you've got to try it. I'll offer a fully money-back guarantee if you don't like it. Get it with an order of sweet potato dill fries. On me.

      Seriously,

  • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2017 @11:14PM (#53830759) Homepage Journal

    quinoa, a hugely popular "super-food" because it is well balanced and gluten-free

    Seriously, wtf? When and why did gluten become an evil boogeyman? Was there a recent research that found gluten causes cancer or something? Or is it just a new age hippie thing?

    Gluten is just wheat protein. It's nutritious. It's how Roman soldiers were able to go everywhere and fight because they had a reliable, portable, long-lasting and nutritious food supply. Wheat is actually the first superfood.

    Yes a tiny percentage of the population can't eat wheat because of celiac or wheat allergies. So what, peanut allergies are far more common and yet I don't see a lot of anti-peanut crusading.

    • by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @12:00AM (#53830883)
      Because there's gluten intolerant, and then there's gluten sensitive. Few people are actually gluten intolerant. More people are sensitive (and a lot don't even know that's why they feel terrible, bloated, gassy or whatnot after eating).
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        I buy the glulten free stuff because it tastes nice. Sometimes its worth trying these dubious health foods just to see if they are delicious.

    • by ProzacPatient ( 915544 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @12:32AM (#53830969)

      Yes it is a hipster thing exploited by the marketing of food companies. I've even seen "Gluten free" on packages of meat.

      In fact a couple of double-blind studies of gluten versus a placebo found little evidence to suggest the existing of gluten sensitivity outside of celiac's disease. What we're probably seeing here is the nocebo effect perpetuated by mass hysteria.

      • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @04:52AM (#53831497)

        Yes it is a hipster thing exploited by the marketing of food companies. I've even seen "Gluten free" on packages of meat....What we're probably seeing here is the nocebo effect perpetuated by mass hysteria.

        I'm having a hard time blaming "hipsters" at this point when I can't tell if greedy food companies are merely marketing, or if they are more responsible for perpetuating or even creating the mass hysteria, especially when you consider the example you provided regarding selling meat, which gives sellers a convenient excuse to increase profit margins.

        If we want to go after something to take out of our food supply, let's go after the real killers, which exceed well beyond allergy concerns. Humans aren't compatible with HFCS, and there's little left to debate on that shit.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Seriously, wtf? When and why did gluten become an evil boogeyman? Was there a recent research that found gluten causes cancer or something? Or is it just a new age hippie thing?

      It's a marketing thing.

      Gluten-free foods are more expensive than gluten ones, often by 2 or more times the price.

      Gluten makes dough ... doughy because what happens (and why you must let dough proof) are the gluten molecules interlink and provide it that nice stretchy smooth texture. Most gluten-free foods are adapted such that it bec

      • Gluten-free foods are more expensive than gluten ones, often by 2 or more times the price

        Only if you want the gluten-free substitutes for traditionally gluten foods. I've switched to a low-carb diet without grains, and as a consequence I'm not getting any gluten either. I'm not paying more than before.

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )

      Seriously, wtf? When and why did gluten become an evil boogeyman

      It is to some people, just not many of them.

      Was there a recent research that found gluten causes cancer or something? Or is it just a new age hippie thing?

      There's coeliac disease (around 1 in 70 people prone to it apparently), and yes it does sometimes result in cancers in that group of vunerable people but it's not common. For everyone else (such as myself) - no problem. I know a couple of people with coeliac disease and I'm sort of happy th

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by mjwx ( 966435 )

      quinoa, a hugely popular "super-food" because it is well balanced and gluten-free

      Seriously, wtf? When and why did gluten become an evil boogeyman?

      Because you cant sell bullshit without first providing the bull.

      The alleged problem with gluten is that it's a carborhydrate and the current dieting fad is low carb diets. Of course there is nothing wrong with carbs being eaten in a suitable amount, but not in excess (much the same as fats, sugars, salt or whaterver the next craze is). The real problem with Gluten is that it gives marketers a new demon to sell to people with fewer than 2 brain cells. After all the previous great satans of sugar, salt and fa

      • The alleged problem with gluten is that it's a carborhydrate and the current dieting fad is low carb diets.

        Gluten is a mixture of proteins.

    • by rhazz ( 2853871 )
      Just mentioning the fact that something is gluten-free does not imply anyone is pushing an anti-gluten agenda here. Keep your pants on.
    • While I agree that 'gluten sensitive' people are mostly full of bullshit, I'm all for making the lives of the small percentage with real allegies to wheat better.

      A small portion of the population is crippled, but we have parking and mandatory accessibility for them. It's a significant expense for businesses, but it makes their lives notably better. Having a more widely available (and cheaper) gluten free grain would improve the lives of those suffering from celiac; even if a large chunk of other people unne

    • quinoa, a hugely popular "super-food" because it is well balanced and gluten-free

      Seriously, wtf? When and why did gluten become an evil boogeyman? Was there a recent research that found gluten causes cancer or something? Or is it just a new age hippie thing?

      Gluten is just wheat protein. It's nutritious. It's how Roman soldiers were able to go everywhere and fight because they had a reliable, portable, long-lasting and nutritious food supply. Wheat is actually the first superfood.

      Yes a tiny percentage of the population can't eat wheat because of celiac or wheat allergies. So what, peanut allergies are far more common and yet I don't see a lot of anti-peanut crusading.

      I have celiac disease and have been gluten free for 36 years. i used to think I had to become a geneticist and create a super fungus to wipe out the worlds supply of wheat, barley and rye to eat normally, but they were largely replaced by a marketing campaign! Genius! Now I go on every forum I can and deliver alternative facts - eating gluten free is healthier, lets you live longer, cures cancer, regrows lost limbs - adding to the hype. Had to discourage a friend from spouting truth, it was cutting int

  • Stop apologizing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by locater16 ( 2326718 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2017 @11:38PM (#53830839)
    Please, stop apologizing for this shit: "and that these benefits could be gained without the use of genetic modification."
    A. No it can't, selective breeding and direct genetic modification end up with the exact same result, and are both "genetic modifications" by any reasonable definition of the term.
    B. This is exactly the same as saying "and these benefits could be gained without the use of wifi!" or "without the use of satellites!" to make "radiation" schizos or flat earthers feel better about themselves. They don't deserve to feel better about themselves; they're crass, ignorant halfwits and don't need their idiotic beliefs affirmed anymore than they already are. And that goes for the stupid assed "gluten free" thing too. Almost no one on earth has celiac disease, and anyone that does can take care of that themselves.
    At no point should scientific results be apologetic, the universe doesn't apologize for existing the way it does, and reporting how it exists should need no apology either.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      When most people say 'genetic modification' what they mean is genetic engineering, which is to say, recombinant DNA techniques, which is different than so-called 'conventional' breeding techniques (for example inserting a spinach gene into an orange for disease resistance which is not naturally present in the citrus genepool), although not different enough to warrant the baseless opposition to it . Unfortunately, most people do not know what they are talking about when it comes to plants, agriculture, and

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        When most people say 'genetic modification' what they mean is genetic engineering

        Only if they are lazy IMHO.
        It's like the recent stuff about people who are "woke" instead of a longer description that actually makes sense.

    • Please, stop apologizing for this shit

      As long as there are widespread, public misgivings about terms like GMO and genetically modified, there will be good, commercial reasons for pointing out that you haven't used it; it means that more people are willing to buy it. You and I may know that there is little to no scientific basis for the fears that people have, but it takes time for people to understand and accept it.

    • Thank you, I was about to write pretty much exactly this.

      It like the researchers are afraid of the hipsters, "look, we used highly advanced genetic engineering techniques to sequence the genes but we would try to modify/remove this genes, that we now know what they are exactly, using other advanced genetic engineering, we will however use a trial and error technique that will take a lot longer and may not do exactly what was intended (such as get seeds without saponins but with less yield) because we depen

    • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @05:20AM (#53831559)

      ...They don't deserve to feel better about themselves; they're crass, ignorant halfwits and don't need their idiotic beliefs affirmed anymore than they already are. And that goes for the stupid assed "gluten free" thing too. Almost no one on earth has celiac disease, and anyone that does can take care of that themselves...

      Almost no one on earth? In America alone, there are 3 million people who do. Not that any of them would expect an apology from a crass person such as yourself who doesn't believe simple statistics.

      Regarding taking care of that "themselves", gluten is found all over our damn food supply. And much like those who suffer from epilepsy, a fucking warning label can often make all the difference in the world.

      You had a valid point, right up until your ignorance showed up. And no, I don't have celiac disease or epilepsy. I'm merely fortunate enough to not suffer from a compassion deficiency.

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by jabuzz ( 182671 )

        There is a *WORLD* of difference between a genuine Celiac disease sufferer and trendy fad based gluten intolerance morons. The former I have all the sympathy in the world for. It is a really shitty condition to have. The latter I regard in the same light as Apollo hoxars, anti-vaccination and all other conspiracy and fad based things. These people I consider idiots and morons. They are the sorts of people that allow "alternative facts" to thrive. They are on the same level as Holocaust denial and I have an

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      About 1% of the population has Celiac disease and about 1% has a wheat allergy. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a recent area of research, but some studies have shown as high as 6% of the population having NCGS (some using a test for an autoimmune antibody that is identified with NCGS).

      That works out to as much as 8% of the population may have a medical reason to go gluten free. That is definitely not almost no one. That said, some studies are showing as much as a third of Americans are avoiding gluten. T

  • by colin_faber ( 1083673 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @12:06AM (#53830899)

    The scientists also believe that the genetic understanding now gained will allow them to breed shorter, stockier plants that don't fall over as easily, and that these benefits could be gained without the use of genetic modification.

    I guess plant splicing and selective breading do not count as genetic modification. Who knew? Must have meant direct genetic modification.

  • ... as to why scientists would need this information about Zachary [wikipedia.org].

  • I don't really mind the taste, but it gives me terrible diarrhoea. Before anyone says I'm preparing it wrong, nobody else in the family seems to have the problem, including the kids. Luckily they've got bored with it so we don't have it so often now.

    Disclaimer: totally not a hipster.

  • not "decoded" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rutulian ( 171771 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @09:08AM (#53832171)

    Scientists Successfully Decode the Genome of Quinoa

    Ugh. I know this is a primarily a tech site, but why can't we make more of an effort to use the actual scientific terms instead meaningless stupid phrases.
    It's kind of like saying "Company develops new method to talk to computers" instead of "Company develops new programming language, Rust"

    "Scientists sequence and assemble the genome of Chenopodium quinoa (aka "quinoa")"

    There, much better. Heck, that's lifted almost word-for-word from the actual scientific article, so it's not like it requires a ton of effort.

  • by Dread_ed ( 260158 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @12:47PM (#53833697) Homepage

    The scientists also believe that the genetic understanding now gained will allow them to breed shorter, stockier plants that don't fall over as easily, and that these benefits could be gained without the use of genetic modification.

    So with no genetic changes at all we will get different plants? Don't these people know that selective breeding IS genetic modification? No? Well why the hell not? Are they morons? Yes? Why the hell are we listening to them talk about science then? It's Slashdot you say? What difference should that make? Really? So these people read stupid news stories and then comment on them? Wait, what? They don't even read the stories? Wait, what?!? They don't even read the summaries of the stories?!? Well what the fuck do they talk about? Oh.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford

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