Amaranth (Amaranthus hypochondriacus)
The genus Amaranthus (Caryophyllales: Amaranthaceae) contains three domesticated grain species, collectively referred to as the grain amaranths (A. hypochondriacus L., A. cruentus L., and A. caudatus L.). These species, along with their putative progenitor species (A. hybridus L., A. quitensis H.B.K., and A. powellii S. Wats.) are classified in what is termed the A. hybridus complex and are considered paleo-allotetraploids (2n=4x=32). Amaranth was a major domesticated food crop of the pre-Columbian New World civilizations, likely having been domesticated multiple times over thousands of years ago. The importance of the amaranths to these ancient civilizations cannot be overstated; indeed, the Spaniards recorded that the Aztec emperor Moctezuma II required a tribute of approximately 200,000 bushels per year of amaranth, an amount nearly equal to the annual maize tribute. At the time of the Spanish conquest, cultivation of the grain amaranths was suppressed due to their deeply rooted use in indigenous religious practices. In the last few decades the grain amaranths have begun to reclaim some of their importance, largely due to the potential nutritional impact of their seed consumption on human health.
Amaranth Research Publications
The complete Amaranth Genome Sequence assembly can be found in Phytozome
Lightfoot DJ, Jarvis DE, Ramaraj T, Lee R, Jellen EN, Maughan PJ (2017) Single molecule sequencing and Hi-C based proximity-guided assembly of amaranth (Amaranthus hypochondriacus) chromosomes provides insights into genome evolution. BMC Biology 15:74
Chaney L, Mangelson R, Ramaraj T, Jellen EN, Maughan PJ (2016) The complete chloroplast genome sequences for four Amaranthus species (Amaranthaceae). Appl. Plant Sci. 4(9): 1-7
Clouse JW, Adhikary D, Page JT, Ramaraj T, Deyholos MK, Udall JA, Fairbanks DJ, Jellen EN, Maughan PJ (2016) The Amaranth (Amaranthus hypochondriacus) Genome: Genome, Transcriptome and Physical Map Assembly. Plant Genome 9(1):1-14
Jimenez FR, Maughan PJ, Alvarez A, Kietlinski KD, Smith SM, Pratt DB, Elzinga DB, Jellen EN (2013) Assessment of genetic diversity in Peruvian amaranth (Amaranthus caudatus L. and A. hybridus L.) germplasm using SNP markers. Crop Science 53:532-541
Maughan PJ, Smith SM, Raney JA (2012) Utilization of Super BAC Pools and Fluidigm Access Array Platform for High-Throughput BAC Clone Identification – Proof of Concept. J Biomed Biotechnol. doi:10.1155/2012/405940
Maughan PJ, Sisneros N, Luo M, Kudrna D, Ammiraju JS, Wing RA. (2008) Construction of an amaranth (Amaranthus hypochondriacus) bacterial artificial chromosome library and genomic sequencing of herbicide target genes.