Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2008
Publication Date: 12/1/2008
Citation: Chamberlin, K.D., Ozais-Akins, P., Gallo, M., Sirvastava, P. 2008. Peanut. In: Kole, C., Hall, T.C. editors. Compendium of Transgenic Crop Plants: Transgenic Oilseed Crops. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing. p. 169-198. Interpretive Summary: Peanut is grown on approximately 37 million acres worldwide and is the third major oilseed crop, surpassed only by soybean and cotton. The U.S. ranks third among peanut producing countries, with the majority of its peanut acreage distributed across the southeastern region of the nation. Although the U.S. does not lead the World in peanut production, it has ranked first in yield per land unit for over 15 years. Peanut is ninth among major row crops being grown in the U.S. and was second in dollar value per acre prior to the passing of the Farm Security and Investment Act of 2002, but has dropped in the rankings since then due to the elimination of the price support system. Peanut producers in the U.S. and across the world face many challenges in attempting to produce a quality crop and still make a profit. Many of these challenges, such as disease resistance and oil quality, could be addressed through biotechnology and transgenic engineering of the crop. This chapter discusses the origin and history of the peanut, progress toward improving the crop through traditional breeding, and the role of transgenic breeding in future peanut germplasm improvement.
Technical Abstract: Peanut, or groundnut, is a New World legume that is believed to be native to South America. Discovered in the 1500s by early Spanish and Portuguese explorers as an extensively cultivated crop of the Indians in the West Indian Islands, Mesoamerica and South America, peanut was disseminated throughout Europe and eventually traveled to the seaboard of the southeastern United States. Cultivated peanut, Arachis hypogaea L., has since become the fifth most important oilseed grown in the World, serving as an important food source for millions of people living in semiarid and tropical regions. As a significant source of proteins, vitamins and minerals, peanut is used for human and animal consumption as well as in soaps, detergents and cosmetics. This chapter discusses the origin and history of the peanut, progress toward improving the crop through traditional breeding, and the role of transgenic breeding in future peanut germplasm improvement.