Project 1: Comparative genomics of disease resistance in soybean and relatives Project 2: Floral genomics Project 3: Polyploidy and evolution in soybean and related species
CALS Impact Statement
Project 1: We are studying how disease resistance genes evolve in the soybean and its relatives, particularly with respect to genome duplications Project 2: We are studying the origin and evolution of the flower, which is the source of fruits and grains for human and animal nutrition Project 3: We are studying the process of ancient genome duplication in soybean, and recent genome duplication in its close relatives
The primary audience for all three projects is the basic science community, particularly in the area of evolution and comparative genomics. But in all three cases, that knowledge is relevant for more applied fields as well, in that all three are providing basic knowledge about plants that may have agricultural impacts. The flower is the organ from which fruits and grains develop, and our studies of non-model (and hence previously un-studied) flowering plant species will aid our understanding of the basic rules of floral development. The remaining two projects involve the large and economically important legume family, and specifically the soybean, one of the world`s most important crops. They also involve the process of genome duplication (polyploidy), a phenomenon whose prevalence and importance as a source of genomic variation is increasingly appreciated. Specific topics include the influence of polyploidy on variation of R-genes, which mediate disease resistance, and thus are of significant agricultural importance. Some of the soybean relatives that we are studying show resistance to pathogens of soybean that the crop species lacks, making them of great potential interest.
The Floral Genome Project has produced expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from several phylogenetically well-distributed genera of flowering plants and gymnosperms, providing a resource for the entire scientific community. The R-gene project has produced bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries that are also publicly available. Studies in the close relatives of soybean have resulted in a better understanding of this important genus.