DOTHAN, Ala (WDHN) — This spring, students in Houston County are going nuts over a new groundbreaking project at HudsonAlpha.

According to HudsonAlpha, students from Dothan City Schools and Houston County are participating in a new peanut breeding program called the Wiregrass Peanut Project.

Earlier in March, students began the first phase by planting the peanuts they would use in the project. This phase included 153 students from Carver Ninth Grade Academy, Rehobeth, Cottonwood, and Dothan High School. In April, the students will be extracting DNA from those peanuts and begin analyzing that data in May.

HudsonAlpha Wiregrass claims to be using genomics to develop more drought and disease-resistant peanuts and other agriculturally important crops in the Wiregrass region.

The first-of-its-kind research and education collaboration allows local high school students to gain real-life research experience while helping create the new peanuts

HudsonAlpha press release

The National Genome Research Institute describes Genomics as the study of genes (the genome), including the interactions of those genes with each other and the environment.

The project is being led by HudsonAlpha Faculty Investigator Josh Clevenger, Ph.D., and HudsonAlpha Educational Outreach leaders.

The research will involve collaborations with local farmers, high school agriculture programs, Auburn University, and others.