Submitted to: Annual Missouri Symposium
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2005
Publication Date: 4/27/2005
Citation: Ramirez, M., Graham, M., Blanco-Lopez, L., Blair, M., Hernandez, G., Lara, M., Vance, C.P. 2005. Legume genomics: role in sustainable nutrient acquisition by crops [abstract]. 22nd Annual Missouri Symposium. Genomics and Beyond: Frontiers in Plant Biology. p. 19. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Legume production and use are critical to agricultural sustainability and human health. Since 1960 N fertilizer use has risen some 13-fold, accompanied by a 6.5-fold increase in P fertilizer use. Expanded use of these inputs in the developed world has contributed to compromising air and water quality. At the same time, the lack of N and P fertilizer availability in developing countries limits crop production and quality. Earth’s population has reached 6 billion people, and this trend is on target to reach 10 billion by 2040. Today some 0.8-1 billion people are undernourished due to lack of protein or nutrient insufficiency. Of this nutritionally compromised population a large percentage depend upon legumes not only as their primary protein source but also as a source of N fertilizer. Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) is a critical component of small stakeholder farming throughout the developing world. However, genomics research for this crop has received minimal attention. In efforts to help establish a foundation for functional genomics in Phaseolus we have sequenced and annotated some 20,000 ESTs from various tissue sources, including root nodules and P-deficiency stressed roots. In silico analysis of ESTs and macroarray studies of the root nodule transcriptome show metabolic pathways important to N and P metabolism. To keep up with the food requirements of a rapidly growing population, sustain adequate N and P levels in depleted soils, and enhance nutritional quality, legume genomics research needs to focus on improving Phaseolus vulgaris. Traits related to N2-fixation, tolerance to P-deficiency, root development, and improved water use efficiency are important targets for genetic enhancement.