How sweet can it be: insights in the Stevia genome

stevia plant

Obesity is a global health issue affecting millions. The leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni) plant produce steviol glycosides, which are 200-350 times sweeter than sugar but contribute no calories. The food industry has a very positive outlook on the opportunities for Stevia ingredients in zero or calorie-reduced products. Consequently, the Stevia ingredient market is expected to cross $1 billion USD by the year 202110. Despite limited understanding of Stevia’s genetics, biology or plant physiology, recent demand for steviol glycosides requires rapid improvement of Stevia cultivars currently used in commercial cultivation. To rapidly facilitate this, the genomes of three commercial Stevia varieties have been sequenced, genome assemblies generated, and fully annotated with improved levels of the better tasting, more sugar-like minor rebaudiosides.

Title: Insights from the Sequencing and Annotation of the Stevia rebaudiana Genome and their Application in Agronomy and Health
Authors: Stephen E. Schauer *1, Runchun Jing *2, Ong Seong Siang *2, Wong Yeen Yee *2, Yucheng Bu *2, Jianning Chen *2, Jifeng Tang *1, Raymond van Daelen *1, Tengfang Huang *1, Indra Prakash *3, Priscilla Samuel *4, Antoine Janssen *1, Marcel van Verk *1, Fayaz Khazi *1, Walter Nelson *1, Alec Hayes *3, Avetik Markosyan *2
*1 KeyGene, *2 PureCircle Ltd, *3 The Coca-Cola Company, *4 Global Stevia Institute