First peanut genome sequenced
To map the peanut's structure, researchers sequenced the genomes of the two ancestral parents because together they represent the cultivated peanut. The sequences provide researchers access to 96 percent of all peanut genes in their genomic context, providing the molecular map needed to more quickly breed drought- and disease-resistant, lower-input and higher-yielding varieties of peanuts.
The two ancestor wild species had been collected in nature, conserved in germplasm banks and then used by the IPGI to better understand the peanut genome. The genomes of the two ancestor species provide excellent models for the genome of the cultivated peanut. A. duranenis serves as a model for the A subgenome of the cultivated peanut while A. ipaensis represents the B subgenome.
Knowing the genome sequences of the two parent species will allow researchers to recognize the cultivated peanut's genomic structure by differentiating between the two subgenomes present in the plants. Being able to see the two separate structural elements also will aid future gene marker development-the determination of links between a gene's presence and a physical characteristic of the plant. Understanding the structure of the peanut's genome will lay the groundwork for new varieties with traits like added disease resistance and drought tolerance.
In addition, these genome sequences will serve as a guide for the assembly of the cultivated peanut genome that will help to decipher genomic changes that led to peanut domestication, which was marked by increases in seed number and size. The genome sequence assemblies and additional information are available at http://peanutbase.org/files/genomes/.
The International Peanut Genome Initiative brings together scientists from the U.S., China, Brazil, India and Israel to delineate peanut genome sequences, characterize the genetic and phenotypic variation in cultivated and wild peanuts and develop genomic tools for peanut breeding. The initial sequencing was carried out by the BGI, Shenzhen, China, known previously as the Beijing Genomics Institute.
Assembly was done at the BGI, the USDA-ARS in Ames, Iowa, and at the University of California, Davis. The project was funded by the peanut industry through the Peanut Foundation and by MARS Inc. and three Chinese academies (Henan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences).
A complete list of the institutions involved with the project and the other funding sources is available at www.peanutbioscience.com.