The 'king of fruits' may soon be allowed on public transport.
Scientists have discovered the source of durian’s signature odour, which could allow them to create an odourless variety of the fruit.
CNN reports that a team of cancer researchers in Singapore have mapped the genome of durian.
In a statement, Teh Bin Tean, deputy director of the National Cancer Center Singapore said, “Being a geneticist, I was naturally curious about the Durian genome — what gene causes its pungent smell? How did its spiny husk arise?”
The Musang King durian fruit has approximately 46,000 genes – almost double of that found in humans. Teh and his team traced its evolution back to 65 million years ago to the cacao family of plants.
The team identified a series of genes: methionine gamma lyases (MGLs). MGLs control the production of volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs), which produces the pungent smell of durian.
“Our analysis revealed that VSC production is turbocharged in durian fruits, which fits with many people’s opinions that durian smell has a ‘sulphury’ aspect,” said Patrick Tan, a professor at Duke-NUS Medical School.
Teh added that other durian varieties, which “are endangered due to the increasing loss of biodiversity” could be helped from their research.
“DNA sequencing is thus an important tool to protect the precious information contained in these fascinating and important plants,” he explained.
Through the teams findings, the potential of creating an odourless durian is now possible, meaning that lovers of the fruit will be allowed to bring it on public transport and in hotels.