The Mint Genome Project: Exploring chemical diversity, biosynthesis, and evolutionhomeaboutparticipantsoutreachresourcescontact us

The Mint Genome Project is made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF Award 1444499: "Evolution of Specialized Metabolite Biosynthetic Pathways in the Lamiaceae: Sources of Chemical Diversity for Molecules Essential for Human Use and Plant Defense"). The five-year project (June 2015 - May 2020) is led by C. Robin Buell at the University of Georgia, with collaborators at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology (O'Connor), Purdue University (Dudareva), and University of Florida (Soltis).

This website provides project information and updates. Links to additional project resources (e.g. publications, sequences, and other data) will be shared on the site throughout the project term.

Disclaimer: Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed on this site are those of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the official views, opinions, or policy of the National Science Foundation.

Project updates and news

Our paper in DNA Research on the genome sequencing of four culinary herbs that revealed terpenoid genes underlying chemodiversity in the Nepetoideae is out now! - October 2020

Our paper in GigaScience on the genome assembly and annotation of of the insect-repellent terpenoid-producing Lamiaceae species, Callicarpa americana is out now!
- September 2020

Our paper in Science Advances on the evolution of Nepeta species and nepetalactone, the compound that makes cats go crazy is out now! - May 2020

New Museum Highlights exhibit was created in collaboration with The Florida Museum of Natural History. The new interactive exhibit was created to educate and excite visitors about mints
- January 2020

The paper Phylotranscriptomic Analyses Reveal Asymmetrical Gene Duplication Dynamics and Signatures of Ancient Polyploidy in Mints by Godden et al. has been published in Genome Biology and Evolution - December 2019.

Outreach activities continue to grow as Allison Bordini speaks about mints during the Florida Museum of Natural History's Sprout Summer Camp. Over 60 children attended the camp and enjoyed various activities, which are summarized in the Mint Book on our outreach page. - July 2019

Videos: Plant Evolutionary Geneticist Doug Soltis, Ph.D., from the University of Florida explains the DNA/RNA extraction process from mint plants. By analyzing that DNA/RNA data, his research team can create a more detailed mint family tree. Obtaining a better understanding of the genetic underpinning of the chemistry of mints through this research will help increase mint yield or even help create new mint compounds/flavors for the agricultural industry to use in future consumer products.

Also, watch Doug explain how he became interested in studying biodiversity and the research he currently conducts, involving the family tree of plants. - April 2019

Genes responsible for the active ingredient in catnip that makes cats euphoric were cloned by John Innes Centre O’Connor’s group! "Catnip: The 'Why' Behind Cats' Favorite High" | U.S. News - December 2018

The paper "A database-driven approach identifies additional diterpene synthase activities in the mint family (Lamiaceae)." by the Mint Evolutionary Genomics Consortium has been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry - November 2018

The paper "Phylogenomic Mining of the Mints Reveals Multiple Mechanisms Contributing to the Evolution of Chemical Diversity in Lamiaceae." by the Mint Evolutionary Genomics Consortium has been published in Molecular Plant - June 2018

The paper "Identification of iridoid synthases from Nepeta species: Iridoid cyclization does not determine nepetalactone stereochemistry." by Sherden et al. has been published in Phytochemistry - October 2017

Project team travels to A. M. Todd Mint Division of Wild Flavors and Specialty Ingredients in Kalamazoo to meet with industry leaders - October 2015

Our Phase I diversity panel is currently in progress and includes 50 species representing major groups in the mint family - August 2015

Unlocking Mint's Secrets Could Advance Medicine, Spices, More | MSU Today - July 2015

MSU gets $5.1 million federal grant for mint genome mapping | The Washington Times - July 2015



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Buell Lab | Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, 111 Riverbend Rd., Athens, GA 30602 | Tel. (706) 542-6227


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