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.

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

Kietlinski KD, Jimenez F, Jellen EN, Maughan PJ, Smith SM, Pratt DB (2014) Relationships between the Weedy (Amaranthaceae) and the Grain Amaranths Crop Science 54 (1), 220-228.

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, Smith SM, Jellen EN, Fairbanks DF (2011) Development, characterization and linkage mapping of single nucleotide polymorphisms in the grain amaranths (Amaranthus sp.). Plant Genome 4:1-10

Maughan PJ, Yourstone SM, Byers RL, Smith S, Udall JA (2010) SNP genotyping in mapping populations via genomic reduction and next-generation sequencing: Proof-of-concept. Plant Genome 3:166-178

Maughan PJ, Yourstone SM, Jellen EN, Udall, JA. (2009) SNP discovery via genomic reduction, barcoding and 454-Pyrosequencing in amaranth. Plant Genome 2: 260-270

Mallory MA, Pratt DB, Vivas R, Jellen EN, Maughan PJ (2008) Development and characterization of microsatellite markers for the grain amaranths (Amaranthus spp. L.). Crop Sci. 48:1098-1106

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. Plant Genome 48:S-85-94:85-94