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Title: Legume genomics: where we have been, where are we going?

item Vance, Carroll

Submitted to: International Conference on Legume Genomics and Genetics
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/7/2008
Publication Date: 12/7/2008
Citation: Vance, C.P. 2008. Legume genomics: where we have been, where are we going? [abstract]. IV International Conference on Legume Genomics and Genetics, December 7-12, 2008, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Abstract No. L1. p. 20.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: With the recognition in 2000 that several multi-institutional projects focusing on legume genomics were becoming a reality, the legume research community advocated for organization of an international meeting to address fundamental and applied aspects of legume genetic research. The purposes delineated for such a meeting were to: (1) apprise the international scientific community of the current status of legume genomics, genetics, and bioinformatics initiatives in legume crops and model species; (2) articulate in theory and practice how genomic, genetic, and bioinformatic information can be translated into legume crop improvement in both the developed and developing worlds; (3) identify comparative approaches that can be utilized to enhance our fundamental understanding of all legumes; (4) facilitate collaboration among groups and individuals; and (5) lay a foundation and framework for subsequent legume genomics and genetics meetings. With these objectives in mind, the 1st International Conference on Legume Genomics and Genetics (ICLGG) was held in 2002. Significant discoveries reported at that meeting include: initial reports of the map-based cloning of receptor kinase genes controlling nodulation and mycorrhizal infection, the first genome sequencing results for Medicago and Lotus, the first in-depth comparative genomic studies of major legume species, the status of transformation and insertional mutagenesis in legumes, and the first whole genome EST analysis and in silico evaluation of transcripts. During the intervening 6 years the study of legume genomics has flourished. Between 2002 and 2008 more than 300 papers have been published on some aspect related to legume genomics. Moreover, legume genomics and biology have highlighted in Focus Issues of Plant Physiology. The whole genome sequences of Glycine, Medicago, and Lotus have been completed. The paradigm of molecular specificity in legume-microbe symbiosis has been elegantly revealed. Microarray platforms for whole genome transcript expression have been used to define gene expression in many tissues and under diverse environmental conditions. A number of reverse genetic approaches have matured to facilitate functional genomics. Where will we go from here? Will characterization and analysis of paralogous genes reveal divergent critical roles in gene function? Will genes controlling specific QTLs be identified? Will micro RNAs be the next wave in fundamental legume genetics? Will genome-wide association studies via eQTLs and other methods lead to understanding complex traits? Will positional cloning of genes become routine? Will we translate fundamental discoveries into improved crops?