The Emerging Oilseed Crop Sesamum indicum Enters the "Omics" Era.
ABSTRACT: Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) is one of the oldest oilseed crops widely grown in Africa and Asia for its high-quality nutritional seeds. It is well adapted to harsh environments and constitutes an alternative cash crop for smallholders in developing countries. Despite its economic and nutritional importance, sesame is considered as an orphan crop because it has received very little attention from science. As a consequence, it lags behind the other major oil crops as far as genetic improvement is concerned. In recent years, the scenario has considerably changed with the decoding of the sesame nuclear genome leading to the development of various genomic resources including molecular markers, comprehensive genetic maps, high-quality transcriptome assemblies, web-based functional databases and diverse daft genome sequences. The availability of these tools in association with the discovery of candidate genes and quantitative trait locis for key agronomic traits including high oil content and quality, waterlogging and drought tolerance, disease resistance, cytoplasmic male sterility, high yield, pave the way to the development of some new strategies for sesame genetic improvement. As a result, sesame has graduated from an "orphan crop" to a "genomic resource-rich crop." With the limited research teams working on sesame worldwide, more synergic efforts are needed to integrate these resources in sesame breeding for productivity upsurge, ensuring food security and improved livelihood in developing countries. This review retraces the evolution of sesame research by highlighting the recent advances in the "Omics" area and also critically discusses the future prospects for a further genetic improvement and a better expansion of this crop.
Project description:Oilseed crops are used to produce vegetable oil. Sesame (Sesamum indicum), an oilseed crop grown worldwide, has high oil content and a small diploid genome, but the genetic basis of oil production and quality is unclear. Here we sequence 705 diverse sesame varieties to construct a haplotype map of the sesame genome and de novo assemble two representative varieties to identify sequence variations. We investigate 56 agronomic traits in four environments and identify 549 associated loci. Examination of the major loci identifies 46 candidate causative genes, including genes related to oil content, fatty acid biosynthesis and yield. Several of the candidate genes for oil content encode enzymes involved in oil metabolism. Two major genes associated with lignification and black pigmentation in the seed coat are also associated with large variation in oil content. These findings may inform breeding and improvement strategies for a broad range of oilseed crops.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Sesame, Sesamum indicum L., is considered the queen of oilseeds for its high oil content and quality, and is grown widely in tropical and subtropical areas as an important source of oil and protein. However, the molecular biology of sesame is largely unexplored. RESULTS: Here, we report a high-quality genome sequence of sesame assembled de novo with a contig N50 of 52.2 kb and a scaffold N50 of 2.1 Mb, containing an estimated 27,148 genes. The results reveal novel, independent whole genome duplication and the absence of the Toll/interleukin-1 receptor domain in resistance genes. Candidate genes and oil biosynthetic pathways contributing to high oil content were discovered by comparative genomic and transcriptomic analyses. These revealed the expansion of type 1 lipid transfer genes by tandem duplication, the contraction of lipid degradation genes, and the differential expression of essential genes in the triacylglycerol biosynthesis pathway, particularly in the early stage of seed development. Resequencing data in 29 sesame accessions from 12 countries suggested that the high genetic diversity of lipid-related genes might be associated with the wide variation in oil content. Additionally, the results shed light on the pivotal stage of seed development, oil accumulation and potential key genes for sesamin production, an important pharmacological constituent of sesame. CONCLUSIONS: As an important species from the order Lamiales and a high oil crop, the sesame genome will facilitate future research on the evolution of eudicots, as well as the study of lipid biosynthesis and potential genetic improvement of sesame.
Project description:Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) is an important oil crop renowned for its high oil content and quality. Recently, genome assemblies for five sesame varieties including two landraces (S. indicum cv. Baizhima and Mishuozhima) and three modern cultivars (S. indicum var. Zhongzhi13, Yuzhi11 and Swetha), have become available providing a rich resource for comparative genomic analyses and gene discovery. Here, we employed a reference-assisted assembly approach to improve the draft assemblies of four of the sesame varieties. We then constructed a sesame pan-genome of 554.05 Mb. The pan-genome contained 26 472 orthologous gene clusters; 15 409 (58.21%) of them were core (present across all five sesame genomes), whereas the remaining 41.79% (11 063) clusters and the 15 890 variety-specific genes were dispensable. Comparisons between varieties suggest that modern cultivars from China and India display significant genomic variation. The gene families unique to the sesame modern cultivars contain genes mainly related to yield and quality, while those unique to the landraces contain genes involved in environmental adaptation. Comparative evolutionary analysis indicates that several genes involved in plant-pathogen interaction and lipid metabolism are under positive selection, which may be associated with sesame environmental adaption and selection for high seed oil content. This study of the sesame pan-genome provides insights into the evolution and genomic characteristics of this important oilseed and constitutes a resource for further sesame crop improvement.
Project description:With the ever-increasing world population, an extra 1.5 billion mouths need to be fed by 2050 with continuously dwindling arable land. Hence, it is imperative that extra food come from the marginal lands that are expected to be unsuitable for growing major staple crops under the adverse climate change scenario. Crop diversity provides right alternatives for marginal environments to improve food, feed, and nutritional security. Well-adapted and climate-resilient crops will be the best fit for such a scenario to produce seed and biomass. The minor millets are known for their high nutritional profile and better resilience for several abiotic stresses that make them the suitable crops for arid and salt-affected soils and poor-quality waters. Finger millet (Eleucine coracana) and foxtail millet (Setaria italica), also considered as orphan crops, are highly tolerant grass crop species that grow well in marginal and degraded lands of Africa and Asia with better nutritional profile. Another category of grains, called pseudo-cereals, is considered as rich foods because of their protein quality and content, high mineral content, and healthy and balance food quality. Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa), amaranth (Amaranthus sp.), and buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) fall under this category. Nevertheless, both minor millets and pseudo-cereals are morphologically different, although similar for micronutrient bioavailability, and their grains are gluten-free. The cultivation of these millets can make dry lands productive and ensure future food as well as nutritional security. Although the natural nutrient profile of these crop plant species is remarkably good, little development has occurred in advances in molecular genetics and breeding efforts to improve the bioavailability of nutrients. Recent advances in NGS have enabled the genome and transcriptome sequencing of these millets and pseudo-cereals for the faster development of molecular markers and application in molecular breeding. Genomic information on finger millet (1,196 Mb with 85,243 genes); S. italica, a model small millet (well-annotated draft genome of 420 Mb with 38,801 protein-coding genes); amaranth (466 Mb genome and 23,059 protein-coding genes); buckwheat (genome size of 1.12 Gb with 35,816 annotated genes); and quinoa (genome size of 1.5 Gb containing 54,438 protein-coding genes) could pave the way for the genetic improvement of these grains. These genomic resources are an important first step toward genetic improvement of these crops. This review highlights the current advances and available resources on genomics to improve nutrient bioavailability in these five suitable crops for the sustained healthy livelihood.
Project description:Genetic dissection of yield components and seed mineral-nutrient is crucial for understanding plant physiological and biochemical processes and alleviate nutrient malnutrition. Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) is an orphan crop that harbors rich allelic repertoire for seed mineral-nutrients. Here, we harness this wide diversity to study the genetic architecture of yield components and seed mineral-nutrients using a core-collection of worldwide genotypes and segregating mapping population. We also tested the association between these traits and the effect of seed nutrients concentration on their bio-accessibility. Wide genetic diversity for yield components and seed mineral-nutrients was found among the core-collection. A high-density linkage map consisting of 19,309 markers was constructed and used for genetic mapping of 84 QTL associated with yield components and 50 QTL for seed minerals. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on mineral-nutrients QTL in sesame. Genomic regions with a cluster of overlapping QTL for several morphological and nutritional traits were identified and considered as genomic hotspots. Candidate gene analysis revealed potential functional associations between QTL and corresponding genes, which offers unique opportunities for synchronous improvement of mineral-nutrients. Our findings shed-light on the genetic architecture of yield components, seed mineral-nutrients and their inter- and intra- relationships, which may facilitate future breeding efforts to develop bio-fortified sesame cultivars.
Project description:Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) is one of the main oilseed crops, providing vegetable oil and protein to human. Landrace is the gene source of variety, carrying many desire alleles for genetic improvement. Despite the importance of sesame landrace, genome of sesame landrace remains unexplored and genomic variations between landrace and variety still is not clear. To identify the genomic variations between sesame landrace and variety, two representative sesame landrace accessions, "Baizhima" and "Mishuozhima," were selected and re-sequenced. The genome sequencing and de novo assembling of the two sesame landraces resulted in draft genomes of 267 Mb and 254 Mb, respectively, with the contig N50 more than 47 kb. Totally, 1,332,025 SNPs and 506,245 InDels were identified from the genome of "Baizhima" and "Mishuozhima" by comparison of the genome of a variety "Zhongzhi13." Among the genomic variations, 70,018 SNPs and 8311 InDels were located in the coding regions of genes. Genomic variations may contribute to variation of sesame agronomic traits such as flowering time, plant height, and oil content. The identified genomic variations were successfully used in the QTL mapping and the black pigment synthesis gene, PPO, was found to be the candidate gene of sesame seed coat color. The comprehensively compared genomes of sesame landrace and modern variety produced massive useful genomic information, constituting a powerful tool to support genetic research, and molecular breeding of sesame.
Project description:Sesame is one of the oldest oilseed crops grown mainly in Africa and Asia. Although genetic and genomic studies on sesame have started late, the past 5 years have witnessed extensive progresses in these areas on this crop. Important genomic sequence resources such as functional markers, genes and QTLs linked to agronomically important traits, have been generated through linkage mapping and association analysis to assist sesame improvement programs. However, most of these data are scattered in different maps making them hard to be exploited efficiently in breeding programs. In this study, we report a comprehensive physical map gathering 151 published genomic sequence resources which highlighted some hotspot functional regions in the sesame genome. Moreover, 83,135 non-redundant SSRs have been supplied along with their physical position and motif composition. This will assist future research in fine mapping or pinpointing more functional genes based on the already published QTLs and functional markers. This physical map represents a good landmark for further non-overlapping genetic and genomic studies working towards sesame improvement.
Project description:As the world population grows and resources and climate conditions change, crop improvement continues to be one of the most important challenges for agriculturalists. The yield and quality of many crops is affected by abscission or shattering, and environmental stresses often hasten or alter the abscission process. Understanding this process can not only lead to genetic improvement, but also changes in cultural practices and management that will contribute to higher yields, improved quality and greater sustainability. As plant scientists, we have learned significant amounts about this process through the study of model plants such as Arabidopsis, tomato, rice, and maize. While these model systems have provided significant valuable information, we are sometimes challenged to use this knowledge effectively as variables including the economic value of the crop, the uniformity of the crop, ploidy levels, flowering and crossing mechanisms, ethylene responses, cultural requirements, responses to changes in environment, and cellular and tissue specific morphological differences can significantly influence outcomes. The value of genomic resources for lesser-studied crops such as cranberries and grapes and the orphan crop fonio will also be considered.
Project description:The biomass demand to fuel a growing global bio-based economy is expected to tremendously increase over the next decades, and projections indicate that dedicated biomass crops will satisfy a large portion of it. The establishment of dedicated biomass crops raises huge concerns, as they can subtract land that is required for food production, undermining food security. In this context, perennial biomass crops suitable for cultivation on marginal lands (MALs) raise attraction, as they could supply biomass without competing for land with food supply. While these crops withstand marginal conditions well, their biomass yield and quality do not ensure acceptable economic returns to farmers and cost-effective biomass conversion into bio-based products, claiming genetic improvement. However, this is constrained by the lack of genetic resources for most of these crops. Here we first review the advantages of cultivating novel perennial biomass crops on MALs, highlighting management practices to enhance the environmental and economic sustainability of these agro-systems. Subsequently, we discuss the preeminent breeding targets to improve the yield and quality of the biomass obtainable from these crops, as well as the stability of biomass production under MALs conditions. These targets include crop architecture and phenology, efficiency in the use of resources, lignocellulose composition in relation to bio-based applications, and tolerance to abiotic stresses. For each target trait, we outline optimal ideotypes, discuss the available breeding resources in the context of (orphan) biomass crops, and provide meaningful examples of genetic improvement. Finally, we discuss the available tools to breed novel perennial biomass crops. These comprise conventional breeding methods (recurrent selection and hybridization), molecular techniques to dissect the genetics of complex traits, speed up selection, and perform transgenic modification (genetic mapping, QTL and GWAS analysis, marker-assisted selection, genomic selection, transformation protocols), and novel high-throughput phenotyping platforms. Furthermore, novel tools to transfer genetic knowledge from model to orphan crops (i.e., universal markers) are also conceptualized, with the belief that their development will enhance the efficiency of plant breeding in orphan biomass crops, enabling a sustainable use of MALs for biomass provision.
Project description:Despite an increasing awareness of the potential of "orphan" or unimproved crops to contribute to food security and enhanced livelihoods for farmers, coordinated research agendas to facilitate production and use of orphan crops by local communities are generally lacking. We provide an overview of the current knowledge on leafy vegetables with a focus on Gynandropsis gynandra, a highly nutritious species used in Africa and Asia, and highlight general and species-specific guidelines for participatory, genomics-assisted breeding of orphan crops. Key steps in genome-enabled orphan leafy vegetables improvement are identified and discussed in the context of Gynandropsis gynandra breeding, including: (1) germplasm collection and management; (2) product target definition and refinement; (3) characterization of the genetic control of key traits; (4) design of the 'process' for cultivar development; (5) integration of genomic data to optimize that 'process'; (6) multi-environmental participatory testing and end-user evaluation; and (7) crop value chain development. The review discusses each step in detail, with emphasis on improving leaf yield, phytonutrient content, organoleptic quality, resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses and post-harvest management.