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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CURATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE SOYBEAN BREEDER'S TOOLBOX AND ITS INTEGRATION WITH OTHER PLANT GENOME DATABASES Title: Update on Comparative Genomics of Legumes

Authors
item Cannon, Steven
item May, Gregory -
item Jackson, Scott -

Submitted to: Plant Physiology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: September 14, 2009
Publication Date: September 16, 2009
Citation: Cannon, S.B., May, G.D., Jackson, S.A. 2009. Update on Comparative Genomics of Legumes. Plant Physiology. 151:970-977.

Interpretive Summary: This year marks the essential completion of the genome sequences of three species in the bean and pea family: soybean, barrel medic (Medicago truncatula), and birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus japonicus). This review describes the basic characteristics of the sequenced legume genomes, and highlights examples, opportunities, and challenges for translational genomics across the legumes. The impact of these assembled, annotated genomes will be enormous. L. japonicus and M. truncatula, both forage crops, are also used as models for laboratory plants used in legume research. Monetarily, soybean is the most valuable protein and edible oil crop in the world, and serves as a model for seed development and other traits. These genome sequences contain the vast majorities of gene and regulatory sequences for these plants, as well as information about evolutionary histories over the approximately 54 million years since their common ancestor. These genome sequences are all the more useful because we can compare the genomes, and to transfer information from them to other crop species and vice versa. Some remaining large challenges include: 1) characterizing and managing diverse seed stocks in many species, 2) developing genetic maps for various traits of interest in less-studied species, 3) working with indigenous farmers to ensure that the products of centuries of plant domestication are not lost, 4) investigating methods for producing hybrid seed in various legumes and 5) working to maintain and develop under-studied legumes for use in diverse, challenging growing environments around the globe. This information will benefit all scientists working on plant genomics and ultimately will help growers, especially soybean producers, as the genetic information is used to produce healthier and higher-yielding crops.

Technical Abstract: This year marks the essential completion of the genome sequences of Glycine max, Medicago truncatula, and Lotus japonicus (soybean, barrel medic, and birdsfoot trefoil, respectively). The impact of these assembled, annotated genomes will be enormous. L. japonicus and M. truncatula, both forage crops, are also used as models for laboratory plants used in legume research. Monetarily, soybean is the most valuable protein and edible oil crop in the world, and serves as a model for seed development and other developmental traits. These genome sequences contain the vast majorities of gene and regulatory sequences for these plants, as well as information about evolutionary histories over the approximately 54 million years since their common ancestor. These genome sequences are made more useful by virtue of the ability to compare between the genomes, and to transfer information from these biological models to other crop species and vice versa. This review describes the basic characteristics of the sequenced legume genomes, and highlights examples, opportunities, and challenges for translational genomics across the legumes. Some remaining challenges include characterizing and managing diverse seed stocks in many species; developing mapping populations for various traits of interest in less-studied species; working with indigenous farmers to ensure that the products of centuries of plant domestication are not lost; investigating methods for producing hybrid seed in various legumes; and working to maintain and develop under-studied legumes for use in diverse, challenging growing environments around the globe.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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