Grain amaranth (Amaranthus  L.) is new world species grown world wide and emerging as potential pseudo cereal. Due to its nutritional value, it gained attention in recent years. Considering adverse effect of changing climatic conditions, amaranth is a promising agricultural crop with the ability to withstand negative effects of growing conditions. The crop can adapt to diverse range of biotic and abiotic stresses. It belongs to the Amaranthaceae family, is an ancient paleopolyploid that shows disomic inheritance (2n = 32).  Amaranth grains have high protein content and well-balanced amino acid profiles. The seeds of grain Amaranths contain 17-19% of its dry weight as protein and possess double amount of essential amino acids compared to wheat protein. Chemical composition and nutritional content of grain amaranth confirms its high potential for human nutrition and medicinal uses. They show high promise for supplementing nutritive food and amelioration of protein deficiency especially in vegetarian diets. Amaranth seed or oil is beneficial for people suffering from hypertension or cardiovascular disease and its regular consumption reduces blood pressure, cholesterol levels and improves antioxidant status and some immunological parameters. With increasing demand for food and rising malnutrition, development of amaranths as an alternative food could be an important boon for people of developing countries suffering from malnutrition and hunger. Amaranth is basically a self-pollinating crop but has varying amount of outcrossing. Frequent interspecific and inter-varietal hybridization is present which has resulted in wide genotypic variation. Since amaranth is a highly variable crop, the choice of parents is very important in breeding programs because it provides promising segregating populations.

     However, despite the nutritional and agricultural importance of this crop it is still one of the underexploited crops in India. Under the aegis of Department of Biotechnology (DBT) Government of India a network project “ Development of amaranth core collection using SSR and SNP markers and evaluation of core set for nutritional, yield traits and abiotic stress tolerance” is being implemented to improve the understanding of this potential crop. As genomic information is essential for effective genetic improvement of any crops, an interactive database on molecular markers (SSRs and SNPs) and transcription factor from available genomic information were constructed. This will helpful in Indian researcher to utilize it for grain Amaranthus characterization and genetic improvement for this futuristic crop.

Useful Links

NCBI Database

Amaranth genetics and genomics database

Phytozome Database

Plant Genome Database

Plant Transcription Factor Database

National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources

Indian Council of Agricultural Research
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