FEEDING THE WORLD
Quinoa has potential to aid food security
A gift from the Incas, quinoa is highly nutritious, gluten-free and packed with essential amino acids, experts say
Scientists have unveiled the near-complete genome of quinoa, a grain cultivated centuries ago by Incas in the Andes that scientists say could help feed a hungry world. Best known outside its native region to health food fans in North America and Europe, quinoa is highly nutritious, gluten-free and packed with essential amino acids, fibre, vitamins and minerals, experts say. It also scores lower than other crops on the glycaemic index, a measure of how quickly foods raise blood sugar levels — a major concern for diabetics. The grain thrives at any altitude up to 4,000m above sea level, in conditions that would leave most food plants struggling. "Quinoa is incredibly resilient and can grow in poor or salty soils," said Mark Tester, a professor at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia and leader of the consortium of scholars that decoded the plant’s genome. "It could provide a healthy, nutritious food source for the world using land and water that currently...