Take a book from a set of 1970 Britannica encyclopedias. Run the pages through a paper shredder a couple times, then turn the pieces sideways and run them through again, until all you have left is a pile of confetti. Then sit down with some friends and reassemble the pieces. You won’t have time to celebrate your accomplishment long, however, because you’re only halfway through. You need to grab another book, say from a 1990 set of Britannica encyclopedias, and repeat the process.

According to USDA/Agricultural Research Service scientist Brian Scheffler, head of the ARS Genomics and Bioinformatics Research Unit, in Stoneville, Miss., this is what it was like for scientists to sequence the peanut genome, a task recently completed by the International Peanut Genome Initiative, a multinational group of crop geneticists which has worked in cooperation for the last several years.

Scheffler, scientists from University of Georgia, University of California – Davis and partners in nine countries participated in the project.

The new peanut genome sequence will be available to researchers and plant breeders across the globe to help breed more productive, more resilient peanut varieties. The sequences provide researchers access to 96 percent of all peanut genes in their genomic context, providing the molecular map needed to more quickly breed drought-resistant, disease-resistant, lower-input and higher-yielding peanut varieties.