Genome sequencing of the staple food crop white Guinea yam enables the development of a molecular marker for sex determination.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Root and tuber crops are a major food source in tropical Africa. Among these crops are several species in the monocotyledonous genus Dioscorea collectively known as yam, a staple tuber crop that contributes enormously to the subsistence and socio-cultural lives of millions of people, principally in West and Central Africa. Yam cultivation is constrained by several factors, and yam can be considered a neglected "orphan" crop that would benefit from crop improvement efforts. However, the lack of genetic and genomic tools has impeded the improvement of this staple crop. RESULTS:To accelerate marker-assisted breeding of yam, we performed genome analysis of white Guinea yam (Dioscorea rotundata) and assembled a 594-Mb genome, 76.4% of which was distributed among 21 linkage groups. In total, we predicted 26,198 genes. Phylogenetic analyses with 2381 conserved genes revealed that Dioscorea is a unique lineage of monocotyledons distinct from the Poales (rice), Arecales (palm), and Zingiberales (banana). The entire Dioscorea genus is characterized by the occurrence of separate male and female plants (dioecy), a feature that has limited efficient yam breeding. To infer the genetics of sex determination, we performed whole-genome resequencing of bulked segregants (quantitative trait locus sequencing [QTL-seq]) in F1 progeny segregating for male and female plants and identified a genomic region associated with female heterogametic (male?=?ZZ, female?=?ZW) sex determination. We further delineated the W locus and used it to develop a molecular marker for sex identification of Guinea yam plants at the seedling stage. CONCLUSIONS:Guinea yam belongs to a unique and highly differentiated clade of monocotyledons. The genome analyses and sex-linked marker development performed in this study should greatly accelerate marker-assisted breeding of Guinea yam. In addition, our QTL-seq approach can be utilized in genetic studies of other outcrossing crops and organisms with highly heterozygous genomes. Genomic analysis of orphan crops such as yam promotes efforts to improve food security and the sustainability of tropical agriculture.
Project description:Yam (<i>Dioscorea</i> spp.) is a major food security crop for millions of resource-poor farmers, particularly in West Africa. Soil mineral deficiency is the main challenge in yam production, especially with the dwindling of fallow lands for the indigenous nutrient supply. Cultivars tolerant to available low soil nutrients and responsive to added nutrient supply are viable components of an integrated soil fertility management strategy for sustainable and productive yam farming systems in West Africa. This study's objective was to identify white Guinea yam (<i>D. rotundata</i>) genotypes adapted to available low soil nutrients and responsive to externally added nutrient supply. Twenty advanced breeding lines and a local variety (Amula) were evaluated under contrasting soil fertility, low to expose the crop to available low soil nutrient supply and high to assess the crop response to added mineral fertilizer (NPK) input at Ibadan, Nigeria. The genotypes expressed differential yield response to low soil fertility (LF) stress and added fertilizer input. Soil fertility susceptibility index (SFSI) ranged from 0.64 to 1.34 for tuber yield and 0.60 to 1.30 for shoot dry weight. The genotypes R034, R041, R050, R052, R060, R100, and R125 combined lower SFSI with a low rate of reduction in tuber yield were identified as tolerant to LF stress related to the soil mineral deficiency. Likewise, the genotypes R109, R119, and R131 showed high susceptibility to soil fertility level and/or fertilizer response. Genotypes R025 and R034 had the tuber yielding potential twice of that the local variety under low soil nutrient conditions. Shoot dry weight and tuber yield showed a positive correlation both under low and high soil fertility conditions (<i>r</i> = 0.69 and 0.75, respectively), indicating the vigor biomass may be a morphological marker for selecting genotypes of white Guinea yam for higher tuber yield. Our results highlight genotypic variation in the tolerance to low soil nutrients and mineral fertilizer response in white Guinea yam to exploit through breeding and genetic studies to develop improved genotypes for low and high input production systems in West Africa.
Project description:Yam (Dioscorea spp.) is a nutritional and medicinal staple tuber crop grown in the tropics and sub-tropics. Among the food yam species, water yam (Dioscorea alata L.) is the most widely distributed and cultivated species worldwide. Tuber dry matter content (DMC) and oxidative browning (OxB) are important quality attributes that determine cultivar acceptability in water yam. This study used a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) assay from a diversity arrays technology (DArT) platform for a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of the two quality traits in a panel of 100 water yam clones grown in three environments. The marker-trait association analysis identified significant SNPs associated with tuber DMC on chromosomes 6 and 19 and with OxB on chromosome 5. The significant SNPs cumulatively explained 45.87 and 12.74% of the total phenotypic variation for the tuber DMC and OxB, respectively. Gene annotation for the significant SNP loci identified important genes associated in the process of the proteolytic modification of carbohydrates in the dry matter accumulation pathway as well as fatty acid ?-oxidation in peroxisome for enzymatic oxidation. Additional putative genes were also identified in the peak SNP sites for both tuber dry matter and enzymatic oxidation with unknown functions. The results of this study provide valuable insight for further dissection of the genetic architecture of tuber dry matter and enzymatic oxidation in water yam. They also highlight SNP variants and genes useful for genomics-informed selection decisions in the breeding process for improving food quality traits in water yam.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>Ninety-seven percent of yam (<i>Dioscorea</i> spp.) production takes place in low income food deficit countries (LIFDCs) and the crop provides 200 calories a day to approximately 300 million people. Therefore, yams are vital for food security. Yams have high-yield potential and high market value potential yet current breeding of yam is hindered by a lack of genomic information and genetic resources. New tools are needed to modernise breeding strategies and unlock the potential of yam to improve livelihood in LIFDCs.<h4>Objectives</h4>Metabolomic screening has been undertaken on a diverse panel of <i>Dioscorea</i> accessions to assess the utility of the approach for advancing breeding strategies in this understudied crop.<h4>Methods</h4>Polar and lipophilic extracts from tubers of accessions from the global yam breeding program have been comprehensively profiled via gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.<h4>Results</h4>A visual pathway representation of the measured yam tuber metabolome has been delivered as a resource for biochemical evaluation of yam germplasm. Over 200 compounds were routinely measured in tubers, providing a major advance for the chemo-typing of this crop. Core biochemical redundancy concealed trends that were only elucidated following detailed mining of global metabolomics data. Combined analysis on leaf and tuber material identified a subset of metabolites which allow accurate species classification and highlighted the potential of predicting tuber composition from leaf profiles. Metabolic variation was accession-specific and often localised to compound classes, which will aid trait-targeting for metabolite markers.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Metabolomics provides a standalone platform with potential to deliver near-future crop gains for yam. The approach compliments the genetic advancements currently underway and integration with other '-omics' studies will deliver a significant advancement to yam breeding strategies.
Project description:Wild yams (<i>Dioscorea</i> spp.) are important tuber crops used both as vegetable and medicine by the tribal people of Koraput, India. There is deficiency of documented information on genetic structure and diversity of wild yams and its genetic assessment is necessary for crop improvement program. The present study assessed the level of genetic diversity of eight wild and one cultivated yam species of Koraput by using different morphological and molecular markers. Significant variation in different yield and morphological traits was observed among the studied yam species. The major morphological traits such as branch number, stem thickness, tuber depth, tuber length, number of tubers per plant and yield showed high genetic heritability accompanied with high genetic advance and major determinants of phenotypic diversity. Molecular profiling was carried out by taking five simple sequence repeat markers. A total of 10 polymorphic bands with an average of two were detected at the loci of the five markers across the nine yam species. Genetic similarity analysis revealed that some wild yam species such as <i>D. oppositifolia</i>, <i>D. hamiltonii</i> and <i>D. pubera</i> showed higher genetic similarity with cultivated (<i>D. alata</i>) species. The knowledge of the extent of genetic variations of wild yam species is important for planning of the genetic conservation and the utilization of this resource especially for genetic improvement.
Project description:Dioecy (distinct male and female individuals) and scarce to non-flowering are common features of cultivated yam (Dioscorea spp.). However, the molecular mechanisms underlying flowering and sex determination in Dioscorea are largely unknown. We conducted SuperSAGE transcriptome profiling of male, female and monoecious individuals to identify flowering and sex-related genes in white Guinea yam (D. rotundata), generating 20,236 unique tags. Of these, 13,901 were represented by a minimum of 10 tags. A total 88 tags were significantly differentially expressed in male, female and monoecious plants, of which 18 corresponded to genes previously implicated in flower development and sex determination in multiple plant species. We validated the SuperSAGE data with quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR)-based analysis of the expression of three candidate genes. We further investigated the flowering patterns of 1938 D. rotundata accessions representing diverse geographical origins over two consecutive years. Over 85% of accessions were either male or non-flowering, less than 15% were female, while monoecious plants were rare. Intensity of flowering varied between male and female plants, with the former flowering more abundantly than the latter. Candidate genes identified in this study can be targeted for further validation and to induce regular flowering in poor to non-flowering cultivars. Findings of the study provide important inputs for further studies aiming to overcome the challenge of flowering in yams and to improve efficiency of yam breeding.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Clonal propagation is a particular reproductive system found in both the plant and animal kingdoms, from human parasites to clonally propagated crops. Clonal diversity provides information about plant and animal evolutionary history, i.e. how clones spread, or the age of a particular clone. In plants, this could provide valuable information about agrobiodiversity dynamics and more broadly about the evolutionary history of a particular crop. We studied the evolutionary history of yam, Dioscorea rotundata. In Africa, Yam is cultivated by tuber clonal propagation.<h4>Results</h4>We used 12 microsatellite markers to identify intra-clonal diversity in yam varieties. We then used this diversity to assess the relative ages of clones. Using simulations, we assessed how Approximate Bayesian Computation could use clonal diversity to estimate the age of a clone depending on the size of the sample, the number of independent samples and the number of markers. We then applied this approach to our particular dataset and showed that the relative ages of varieties could be estimated, and that each variety could be ranked by age.<h4>Conclusions</h4>We give a first estimation of clone age in an approximate Bayesian framework. However the precise estimation of clone age depends on the precision of the mutation rate. We provide useful information on agrobiodiversity dynamics and suggest recurrent creation of varietal diversity in a clonally propagated crop.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Yam (Dioscorea alata L.) is an important tuber crop and purple pigmented elite cultivar has recently become popular because of associated health benefits. Identifying candidate genes responsible for flavonoid biosynthesis pathway (FBP) will facilitate understanding the molecular mechanism of controlling pigment formation in yam tubers. Here, we used Illumina sequencing to characterize the transcriptome of tubers from elite purple-flesh cultivar (DP) and conventional white-flesh cultivar (DW) of yam. In this process, we also designed high quality molecular markers to assist molecular breeding for tuber trait improvement. RESULTS:A total of 125,123 unigenes were identified from the DP and DW cDNA libraries, of which about 49.5% (60,020 unigenes) were annotated by BLASTX analysis using the publicly available protein database. These unigenes were further annotated functionally and subject to biochemical pathway analysis. 511 genes were identified to be more than 2-fold (FDR?<?0.05) differentially expressed between the two yam cultivars, of which 288 genes were up-regulated and 223 genes were down-regulated in the DP tubers. Transcriptome analysis detected 61 unigenes encoding multiple well-known enzymes in the FBP. Furthermore, the unigenes encoding chalcone isomerase (CHS), flavanone 3-hydroxylase (F3H), flavonoid 3'-monooxygenase (F3'H), dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR), leucoanthocyanidin dioxygenase (LDOX), and flavonol 3-O-glucosyltransferase (UF3GT) were found to be significantly up-regulated in the DP, implying that these genes were potentially associated with tuber color formation in this elite cultivar. The expression of these genes was further confirmed by qRT-PCR. Finally, 11,793 SSRs were successfully identified with these unigenes and 6,082 SSR markers were developed using Primer 3. CONCLUSIONS:This study provides the first comprehensive transcriptomic dataset for yam tubers, which will significantly contribute to genomic research of this and other related species. Some key genes associated with purple-flesh trait were successfully identified, thus providing valuable information about molecular process of regulating pigment accumulation in elite yam tubers. In the future, this information might be directly used to genetically manipulate the conventional white-fleshed tuber cultivars to enable them to produce purple flesh. In addition, our SSR marker sets will facilitate identification of QTLs for various tuber traits in yam breeding programs.
Project description:After cereals, root and tuber crops are the main source of starch in the human diet. Starch biosynthesis was certainly a significant target for selection during the domestication of these crops. But domestication of these root and tubers crops is also associated with gigantism of storage organs and changes of habitat.We studied here, the molecular basis of domestication in African yam, Dioscorea rotundata. The genomic diversity in the cultivated species is roughly 30% less important than its wild relatives. Two percent of all the genes studied showed evidences of selection. Two genes associated with the earliest stages of starch biosynthesis and storage, the sucrose synthase 4 and the sucrose-phosphate synthase 1 showed evidence of selection. An adventitious root development gene, a SCARECROW-LIKE gene was also selected during yam domestication. Significant selection for genes associated with photosynthesis and phototropism were associated with wild to cultivated change of habitat. If the wild species grow as vines in the shade of their tree tutors, cultivated yam grows in full light in open fields.Major rewiring of aerial development and adaptation for efficient photosynthesis in full light characterized yam domestication.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Yam tuber is a storage organ, derived from the modified stem. Tuber expansion is a complex process, and depends on the expressions of genes that can be influenced by environmental and endogenous factors. However, little is known about the regulatory mechanism of tuber expansion. In order to identify the genes and miRNAs involved in tuber expansion, we examined the mRNAs and small RNAs in Dioscorea opposita (Chinese yam) cv. Guihuai 16 tuber during its initiation and expansion stages. RESULTS:A total of 14,238 differentially expressed genes in yam tuber at its expansion stage were identified by using RNA sequencing technology. Among them, 5723 genes were up-regulated, and 8515 genes were down-regulated. Functional analysis revealed the coordination of tuber plant involved in processes of cell events, metabolism, biosynthesis, and signal transduction pathways at transcriptional level, suggesting that these differentially expressed genes are somehow involved in response to tuber expansion, including CDPK, CaM, CDL, SAUR, DELLA, SuSy, and expansin. In addition, 541 transcription factor genes showed differential expression during the expansion stage at transcriptional level. MADS, bHLH, and GRAS were involved in cell differentiation, division, and expansion, which may relate to tuber expansion. Noteworthy, data analysis revealed that 22 known tuber miRNAs belong to 10 miRNA families, and 50 novel miRNAs were identified. The integrated analysis of miRNA-mRNA showed that 4 known miRNAs and 11 genes formed 14 miRNA-target mRNA pairs were co-expressed in expansion stage. miRNA160, miRNA396, miRNA535 and miRNA5021 may be involved in complex network to regulate cell division and differentiation in yam during its expansion stage. CONCLUSION:The mRNA and miRNA datasets presented here identified a subset of candidate genes and miRNAs that are putatively associated with tuber expansion in yam, a hypothetical model of genetic regulatory network associated with tuber expansion in yam was put forward, which may provide a foundation for molecular regulatory mechanism researching on tuber expansion in Dioscorea species.
Project description:Premise:We developed a target enrichment panel for phylogenomic studies of Dioscorea, an economically important genus with incompletely resolved relationships. Methods:Our bait panel comprises 260 low- to single-copy nuclear genes targeted to work in Dioscorea, assessed here using a preliminary taxon sampling that includes both distantly and closely related taxa, including several yam crops and potential crop wild relatives. We applied coalescent-based and maximum likelihood phylogenomic inference approaches to the pilot taxon set, incorporating new and published transcriptome data from additional species. Results:The custom panel retrieved ~94% of targets and >80% of full gene length from 88% and 68% of samples, respectively. It has minimal gene overlap with existing panels designed for angiosperm-wide studies and generally recovers longer and more variable targets. Pilot phylogenomic analyses consistently resolve most deep and recent relationships with strong support across analyses and point to revised relationships between the crop species D. alata and candidate crop wild relatives. Discussion:Our customized panel reliably retrieves targeted loci from Dioscorea, is informative for resolving relationships in denser samplings, and is suitable for refining our understanding of the independent origins of cultivated yam species; the panel likely has broader promise for phylogenomic studies across Dioscoreales.