Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Management of Plant Genetic Resources and Associated Information

Location: Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing

Title: Legume crops phylogeny and genetic diversity for science and breeding

Authors
item Smýkal, Petr -
item COYNE, CLARICE
item Ambrose, Mike -
item Maxted, Nigel -
item Schaefer, Hanno -
item Blair, Matthew -
item Berger, Jens -
item GREENE, STEPHANIE
item Nelson, Matthew -
item Besharat, Naghemeh -
item Vymyslický, Tomáš -
item Toker, Cengiz -
item Saxena, Rachit -
item Roorkiwal, Manish -
item Pandey, Manish -
item HU, JINGUO
item Li, Ying -
item Wang, Li -
item Guo, Yong -
item Qiu, Li -
item Redden, Robert -
item Varshney, Rajeev -

Submitted to: Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 13, 2013
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Fabaceae (or Leguminosae), with 800 genera and 20,000 species, is the third largest family of flowering plants, after Orchidaceae and Asteraceae. It is an extremely diverse family with worldwide distribution, encompassing a broad range of life forms, from arctic alpine herbs and temperate or tropical perennial shrubs to annual xerophytes and equatorial giant trees. Some legumes are weeds of cereal agriculture, while others are major grain crops in their own right. These latter species are known as grain legumes, or pulses, and together with two pasture and forage legumes are the focus of this review. Members of the Fabaceae are characterized by the distinct fruit, termed a legume, which gives the family its original name. Flower structure is highly variable; however, the butterfly-like (papilionoid) flower is almost universal in the Papilionoideae subfamily (~14,000 species). Fabaceae includes many economically important and versatile species, with the majority providing grains and pulses. Among the grain legumes are some of humanity's earliest crop plants, including soybean and mungbean in East Asia; faba bean, lentil, chickpea and pea in the Fertile Crescent of the Near East; and common bean or lupin in Central and South America. Legumes’ symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria provides not only added value in agriculture, but also plays an important role in natural ecosystems. Moreover, the legume pea, was the key experimental organism for Mendel´s pioneering work (1866) in establishing the underlying basis of heredity. This review aims to combine the phylogenetic and genetic diversity approaches to better illustrate the origin, domestication history and preserved germplasm of major legume crops from 13 genera of six tribes and to indicate further potential both science and agriculture.

Technical Abstract: Economically, legumes (Fabaceae) represent the second most important family of crop plants after the grass family, Poaceae. Grain legumes account for 27% of world crop production and provide 33% of the dietary protein consumed by humans, while pasture and forage legumes provide vital part of animal feed. Fabaceae, the third largest family of flowering plants, has traditionally been divided into three subfamilies: Caesalpinioideae, Mimosoideae, and Papilionoideae, all together with 800 genera and 20,000 species. The latter subfamily contains most of the major cultivated food and feed crops. Among the grain legumes are some of mankind’s earliest crop plants, whose domestication parallelled that of cereals: Soybean in China; faba bean, lentil, chickpea and pea in the Fertile Crescent of the Near East; cowpeas and bambara groundnut in Africa; soybean and mungbeans in East Asia; pigeonpea and the grams in South Asia; and common bean, lima bean, scarlet runner bean, tepary bean and lupin in Central and South America. The importance of legumes is evidenced by their high representation in ex situ germplasm collections, with more than 1,000,000 accessions worldwide. A detailed knowledge of the phylogenetic relationships of the Fabaceae is essential for understanding the origin and diversification of this economically and ecologically important family of angiosperms. This review aims to combine the phylogenetic and genetic diversity approaches to better illustrate the origin, domestication history and preserved germplasm of major legume crops from 13 genera of six tribes and to indicate further potential both for science and agriculture.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page