Crazy for Quinoa? Washington State University Cracks Into the Seed – Literally

Quinoa might be the latest superfood craze, but did you know the seed is actually difficult to produce? Quinoa is coated in saponin, hardening the seed to protect it from birds and insects, but also making it very expensive for farmers to remove. As quinoa is adaptable to many different environments and is a great source of nutrients, cracking the quinoa code is vital to making it easier for farmers to produce.

Washington State University has discovered the quinoa genome responsible for its hard coating, giving farmers the option to remove the bitter coating. This will help the nutritious crop be more accessible for farmers who may not be able to afford the process to remove saponin and increase availability of the protein-packed crop for in-need communities.

Washington State University created an ancestral family tree of quinoa, dating back from 3 million years ago, to track quinoa’s genetic code. Read more about their research here.

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