By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Quinoa, the sacred "mother grain" of the ancient Inca civilization suppressed by Spanish conquistadors, could become an increasingly important food source in the future thanks to genetic secrets revealed in a new study. Scientists on Wednesday said they have mapped the genome of quinoa and identified a gene that could be manipulated to get rid of the grain's natural bitter taste and pave the way for more widespread commercial use. Quinoa (pronounced KIN-wah) already grows well in harsh conditions such as salty and low-quality soil, high elevations and cool temperatures, meaning it can flourish in locales where common cereal crops like wheat and rice may struggle.
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