Submitted to: Plant Physiology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/20/2005
Publication Date: 4/4/2005
Citation: Gepts, P., Beavis, W., Brummer, E.C., Shoemaker, R.C., Stalker, H.T., Weeden, N.F., Young, N.D. 2005. Legumes as a model plant family: genomics for food and feed. Plant Physiology. 137(4):1228-1235. Interpretive Summary: The importance of legumes to the world's food and feed production cannot be understated. In order to ensure that food and feed production continues it is necessary to have an organized plan encompassing all legumes. A conference was convened in which the attendees developed a 10-year plan to take advantage of research tools and technologies currently being developed. A priority research list was developed that intended to maximize research advances by focusing on a few key legumes and then translating those advances to the other legumes. Soybean was identified as a key legume, as well as its close relative, common bean. The unique characters of each legume were recognized and it was recommended that researchers take advantage of those characters in developing research priorities. This plan will be useful to granting agencies in making funding decisions.
Technical Abstract: The Cross-legume Advances Through Genomics (CATG) conference of legume researchers was convened to establish a 10-year plan for joint legume genomics projects to translate genomic and biological information between legume reference species (Medicago truncatula, Lotus japonicus, and soybean) and other grain or forage legumes. The conference attendees chose to focus these efforts on the improvement of legumes for food and feed. The plan further prioritized the development of genomic resources among the different legumes based on phylogenetic and economic arguments. For legume reference species, the full complement of genomic tools should be developed, including sequencing of the entire genome and development of transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics. For common bean and peanut, a wide range of genomics tools are proposed, including anchored physical maps, gene expression tools, and sequencing of gene-rich regions. For the other crop legumes, translational tools such as BAC libraries, ESTs of selected tissues, and mapping tools are needed. To allow the study of legume-characteristic traits, such as symbioses, flower, and fruit development, and polyploidy, it was further recommended that ad hoc genomic tools be developed in species, such as Chamaecrista sp., which belong to more basal clades of the legume family. With regard to bioinformatics, recommendations were made to develop a virtual, easy-to-navigate “one-stop” legume information network and take the lead in developing novel bioinformatics applications to address integrative and comparative research questions. Education and outreach were considered to be important components of future cross-legume genomics research. Efforts will be directed towards attracting young legume scientists and educating K-12 students, their teachers, farmers, and the general public about the benefits of legumes.