This draft, which sequenced more than 90 percent of the plant's genes, offered new insights into the evolution of flowering plants in general, and the unusual sexual evolution of the papaya.
Ming and his colleagues have identified regions of interest on the papaya's three sex chromosomes: the X, Y, and Y chromosomes contain genes that promote the development of the male reproductive organ, the stamen, in male and hermaphrodite trees.
The resulting hermaphrodite will produce only hermaphrodite seeds, Ming said, eliminating a major headache for farmers while improving the health of the papayas and the environment.
Further research will explore the origin and evolution of the sex chromosomes by comparing the papaya to five other related species in two genera and by conducting population genetic studies of the papaya sex chromosomes.
The problem is exacerbated by the fact that it is impossible to tell the sex of a seed until it has grown up and flowered.
This means that papaya farmers must plant five or more seeds together to maximize the likelihood of obtaining at least one hermaphrodite plant.
When babies are developing in the womb, they all begin with sex organs that look female.
If the baby is male, he begins to produce testosterone, and if the hormone reaches the tissues correctly, the external genitals become a scrotum and penis.
Babies are not born with physical disorders to punish their parents in any way.
The hermaphrodite produces the flavorful fruit that is sold commercially.
From the grower's perspective, however, hermaphrodite plants come with a severe handicap: their seeds produce some female plants (which are useless commercially) and some hermaphrodites.
After the Flood, human life spans grew progressively shorter, indicating a change in the environment which resulted in damage to the human genetic structure.
This also explains why incest was necessary for the population of the earth in Genesis, but was forbidden later in the laws of Leviticus (18:6-18).
Ming is also an affiliate of the Institute for Genomic Biology at Illinois.