Cowpea Genome Sequenced


A big worldwide workforce of researchers has sequenced the genome of the cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), a significant crop for worldwide meals and dietary safety, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

African farmers domesticated the cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) from its wild form, in a process of unconscious selection over many centuries. Domesticated cowpea has much larger seeds that have lost its dormancy of the wild progenitor. Image credit: Ton Rulkens / CC BY-SA 2.0.

African farmers domesticated the cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) from its wild type, in a means of unconscious choice over many centuries. Domesticated cowpea has a lot bigger seeds which have misplaced its dormancy of the wild progenitor. Picture credit score: Ton Rulkens / CC BY-SA

The cowpea, also called the black-eyed pea, is without doubt one of the most vital meals and dietary safety crops, offering the principle supply of protein to thousands and thousands of individuals in growing nations.

In sub-Saharan Africa, smallholder farmers are the foremost producers and customers of cowpea, which is grown for its grains, tender leaves and pods as meals for human consumption, with the crop residues getting used for fodder or added again to the soil to enhance fertility.

The cowpea was domesticated in Africa, from the place it unfold into all continents and now could be generally grown in lots of components of Asia, Europe, america, and Central and South America.

One of many strengths of cowpea is its excessive resilience to harsh circumstances, together with scorching and dry environments, and poor soils. Nonetheless, as sub-Saharan Africa and different cowpea manufacturing areas encounter local weather variability, breeding for extra climate-resilient varieties stays a precedence.

“The cowpea has been right here supporting individuals since early colonial instances. It’s good that we’ve introduced this plant with a lot native historical past as much as cutting-edge for scientific analysis,” stated College of California, Riverside’s Professor Timothy Shut.

Professor Shut and colleagues sequenced the genome of the cowpea selection IT97Ok-499-35 utilizing single-molecule real-time sequencing mixed with optical and genetic mapping.

“A genome is the complete assortment of genetic codes that decide traits like shade, peak, and predisposition to illnesses,” stated College of California, Riverside’s Professor Stefano Lonardi.

“All genomes include extremely repetitive sequences of DNA. The method of determining how these jigsaw puzzle sequences match collectively is computationally difficult.”

“So as to take action, we assembled the genome many instances with completely different software program instruments and parameters.”

“Then we created new software program able to merging these numerous genome options right into a single, full image.”

“Having the genome sequence helps us make choices in regards to the alternative of father or mother vegetation to crossbreed with a purpose to produce their desired progeny,” Professor Shut stated.

“One of many cowpea traits that we at the moment are attempting to grasp is its outstanding means to get well from drought stress.”

“We’re attempting to determine why cowpeas are so resilient to harsh circumstances. As we transfer right into a world with much less water out there to agriculture, it will likely be vital to capitalize on this means and develop on it, taking the lead from cowpeas to information enhancements in different crops which are susceptible to local weather change.”

The findings had been printed within the Plant Journal.


Stefano Lonardi et al. The genome of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata [L.] Walp.). Plant Journal, printed on-line April 24, 2019; doi: 10.1111/tpj.14349

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