Singapore scientists unravel the durian DNA

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In early 2015, the Duke-NUS Medical School and a group of five cancer researchers from the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) began the endeavour to decipher the fruit’s DNA in their free time. Moreover, the team received funding of SGD $500,000 from a group of anonymous durian lovers.

It has been discovered that the durian genome consists of approximately 46,000 genes, whereas humans have only half that amount at a total of 23,000 genes, according to the published analysis in the Nature Genetics journal.

In addition, the research team used sophisticated sequencing platforms in order to map the genome of the Mao Shan Wang or the Musang King durian.

It was found out that one specific type of gene gives the fruit its notorious smell called methionine gamma lyases (MGL). Furthermore, this gene emits the same odour compounds given off from rotten eggs which are called volatile sulphur compounds (VSC).