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1.  Development and Evaluation of a High Density Genotyping ‘Axiom_Arachis’ Array with 58 K SNPs for Accelerating Genetics and Breeding in Groundnut 
Scientific Reports  2017;7:40577.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are the most abundant DNA sequence variation in the genomes which can be used to associate genotypic variation to the phenotype. Therefore, availability of a high-density SNP array with uniform genome coverage can advance genetic studies and breeding applications. Here we report the development of a high-density SNP array ‘Axiom_Arachis’ with 58 K SNPs and its utility in groundnut genetic diversity study. In this context, from a total of 163,782 SNPs derived from DNA resequencing and RNA-sequencing of 41 groundnut accessions and wild diploid ancestors, a total of 58,233 unique and informative SNPs were selected for developing the array. In addition to cultivated groundnuts (Arachis hypogaea), fair representation was kept for other diploids (A. duranensis, A. stenosperma, A. cardenasii, A. magna and A. batizocoi). Genotyping of the groundnut ‘Reference Set’ containing 300 genotypes identified 44,424 polymorphic SNPs and genetic diversity analysis provided in-depth insights into the genetic architecture of this material. The availability of the high-density SNP array ‘Axiom_Arachis’ with 58 K SNPs will accelerate the process of high resolution trait genetics and molecular breeding in cultivated groundnut.
PMCID: PMC5238394  PMID: 28091575
2.  A gene-based map of the Nod factor-independent Aeschynomene evenia sheds new light on the evolution of nodulation and legume genomes 
Aeschynomene evenia has emerged as a new model legume for the deciphering of the molecular mechanisms of an alternative symbiotic process that is independent of the Nod factors. Whereas most of the research on nitrogen-fixing symbiosis, legume genetics and genomics has so far focused on Galegoid and Phaseolid legumes, A. evenia falls in the more basal and understudied Dalbergioid clade along with peanut (Arachis hypogaea). To provide insights into the symbiotic genes content and the structure of the A. evenia genome, we established a gene-based genetic map for this species. Firstly, an RNAseq analysis was performed on the two parental lines selected to generate a F2 mapping population. The transcriptomic data were used to develop molecular markers and they allowed the identification of most symbiotic genes. The resulting map comprised 364 markers arranged in 10 linkage groups (2n = 20). A comparative analysis with the sequenced genomes of Arachis duranensis and A. ipaensis, the diploid ancestors of peanut, indicated blocks of conserved macrosynteny. Altogether, these results provided important clues regarding the evolution of symbiotic genes in a Nod factor-independent context. They provide a basis for a genome sequencing project and pave the way for forward genetic analysis of symbiosis in A. evenia.
PMCID: PMC4991833  PMID: 27298380
Aeschynomene evenia; symbiosis; legume; genetic map; comparative genomics
3.  Genetic Mapping of Resistance to Meloidogyne arenaria in Arachis stenosperma: A New Source of Nematode Resistance for Peanut 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2015;6(2):377-390.
Root-knot nematodes (RKN; Meloidogyne sp.) are a major threat to crops in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. The use of resistant crop varieties is the preferred method of control because nematicides are expensive, and hazardous to humans and the environment. Peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is infected by four species of RKN, the most damaging being M. arenaria, and commercial cultivars rely on a single source of resistance. In this study, we genetically characterize RKN resistance of the wild Arachis species A. stenosperma using a population of 93 recombinant inbred lines developed from a cross between A. duranensis and A. stenosperma. Four quantitative trait loci (QTL) located on linkage groups 02, 04, and 09 strongly influenced nematode root galling and egg production. Drought-related, domestication and agronomically relevant traits were also evaluated, revealing several QTL. Using the newly available Arachis genome sequence, easy-to-use KASP (kompetitive allele specific PCR) markers linked to the newly identified RKN resistance loci were developed and validated in a tetraploid context. Therefore, we consider that A. stenosperma has high potential as a new source of RKN resistance in peanut breeding programs.
PMCID: PMC4751557  PMID: 26656152
Arachis; peanut; QTL; root-knot nematode resistance; marker-assisted selection; drought; yield; introgression
4.  Root Transcriptome Analysis of Wild Peanut Reveals Candidate Genes for Nematode Resistance 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(10):e0140937.
Wild peanut relatives (Arachis spp.) are genetically diverse and were adapted to a range of environments during the evolution course, constituting an important source of allele diversity for resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. The wild diploid A. stenosperma harbors high levels of resistance to a variety of pathogens, including the root-knot nematode (RKN) Meloidogyne arenaria, through the onset of the Hypersensitive Response (HR). In order to identify genes and regulators triggering this defense response, a comprehensive root transcriptome analysis during the first stages of this incompatible interaction was conducted using Illumina Hi-Seq. Overall, eight cDNA libraries were produced generating 28.2 GB, which were de novo assembled into 44,132 contigs and 37,882 loci. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified and clustered according to their expression profile, with the majority being downregulated at 6 DAI, which coincides with the onset of the HR. Amongst these DEGs, 27 were selected for further qRT-PCR validation allowing the identification of nematode-responsive candidate genes that are putatively related to the resistance response. Those candidates are engaged in the salycilic (NBS-LRR, lipocalins, resveratrol synthase) and jasmonic (patatin, allene oxidase cyclase) acids pathways, and also related to hormonal balance (auxin responsive protein, GH3) and cellular plasticity and signaling (tetraspanin, integrin, expansin), with some of them showing contrasting expression behavior between Arachis RKN-resistant and susceptible genotypes. As these candidate genes activate different defensive signaling systems, the genetic (HR) and the induced resistance (IR), their pyramidding in one genotype via molecular breeding or transgenic strategy might contribute to a more durable resistance, thus improving the long-term control of RKN in peanut.
PMCID: PMC4619257  PMID: 26488731
5.  Characterization of the complete mitochondrial genome and a set of polymorphic microsatellite markers through next-generation sequencing for the brown brocket deer Mazama gouazoubira  
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2015;38(3):338-345.
The complete mitochondrial genome of the brown brocket deer Mazama gouazoubira and a set of polymorphic microsatellite markers were identified by 454-pyrosequencing. De novo genome assembly recovered 98% of the mitochondrial genome with a mean coverage of 9-fold. The mitogenome consisted of 16,356 base pairs that included 13 protein-coding genes, two ribosomal subunit genes, 22 transfer RNAs and the control region, as found in other deer. The genetic divergence between the mitogenome described here and a previously published report was ∼0.5%, with the control region and ND5 gene showing the highest intraspecific variation. Seven polymorphic loci were characterized using 15 unrelated individuals; there was moderate genetic variation across most loci (mean of 5.6 alleles/locus, mean expected heterozygosity = 0.70), with only one locus deviating significantly from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, probably because of null alleles. Marker independence was confirmed with tests for linkage disequilibrium. The genetic variation of the mitogenome and characterization of microsatellite markers will provide useful tools for assessing the phylogeography and population genetic patterns in M. gouazoubira, particularly in the context of habitat fragmentation in South America.
PMCID: PMC4612593  PMID: 26500438
conservation; microsatellites; mitogenome; population genetics; 454-pyrosequencing
6.  Identification of QTLs for Rust Resistance in the Peanut Wild Species Arachis magna and the Development of KASP Markers for Marker-Assisted Selection 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2015;5(7):1403-1413.
Rust is a major pathogen of the peanut crop. Development and adoption of rust-resistant cultivars is the most cost efficient and effective way to control the spread of the disease and reduce yield losses. Some cultivated peanut germplasm accessions have a degree of resistance, but the secondary gene pool is a source of much stronger resistance alleles. Wild species, however, have undesirable agronomic traits that are a disincentive to their use in breeding. The identification of genomic regions that harbor disease resistance in wild species is the first step in the implementation of marker-assisted selection that can speed the introgression of wild disease resistances and the elimination of linkage drag. In this work, we identify genome regions that control different components of rust resistance in a recombinant inbred line population developed from a cross between two Arachis species, the susceptible most probable B genome ancestor of cultivated peanut, Arachis ipaënsis, and an accession of its closest relative, Arachis magna, which is resistant to rust. Quantitative trait loci for several components of resistance were placed in the same position on linkage group B08. Single-nucleotide polymorphism Kompetitive allele-specific polymerase chain reaction markers for rust resistance region were designed and validated for marker function in both diploid and tetraploid contexts.
PMCID: PMC4502374  PMID: 25943521
Arachis; peanut; marker-assisted selection; rust; molecular breeding
7.  Transcriptome Profiling of Wild Arachis from Water-Limited Environments Uncovers Drought Tolerance Candidate Genes 
Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is an important legume cultivated mostly in drought-prone areas where its productivity can be limited by water scarcity. The development of more drought-tolerant varieties is, therefore, a priority for peanut breeding programs worldwide. In contrast to cultivated peanut, wild relatives have a broader genetic diversity and constitute a rich source of resistance/tolerance alleles to biotic and abiotic stresses. The present study takes advantage of this diversity to identify drought-responsive genes by analyzing the expression profile of two wild species, Arachis duranensis and Arachis magna (AA and BB genomes, respectively), in response to progressive water deficit in soil. Data analysis from leaves and roots of A. duranensis (454 sequencing) and A. magna (suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH)) stressed and control complementary DNA (cDNA) libraries revealed several differentially expressed genes in silico, and 44 of them were selected for further validation by quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR). This allowed the identification of drought-responsive candidate genes, such as Expansin, Nitrilase, NAC, and bZIP transcription factors, displaying significant levels of differential expression during stress imposition in both species. This is the first report on identification of differentially expressed genes under drought stress and recovery in wild Arachis species. The generated transcriptome data, besides being a valuable resource for gene discovery, will allow the characterization of new alleles and development of molecular markers associated with drought responses in peanut. These together constitute important tools for the peanut breeding program and also contribute to a better comprehension of gene modulation in response to water deficit and rehydration.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11105-015-0882-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4695501  PMID: 26752807
SSH libraries; 454 Sequencing; Differential gene expression; Dry-down; Peanut wild relatives; qRT-PCR
8.  Arachis batizocoi: a study of its relationship to cultivated peanut (A. hypogaea) and its potential for introgression of wild genes into the peanut crop using induced allotetraploids 
Annals of Botany  2014;115(2):237-249.
Background and Aims Arachis batizocoi is a wild relative of cultivated peanut (A. hypogaea), an allotetraploid with an AABB genome. Arachis batizocoi was once considered the ancestral donor of the peanut B genome, but cytogenetics and DNA phylogenies have indicated a new genome classification, ‘K’. These observations seem inconsistent with genetic studies and breeding that have shown that A. batizocoi can behave as a B genome.
Methods The genetic behaviour, genome composition and phylogenetic position of A. batizocoi were studied using controlled hybridizations, induced tetraploidy, whole-genome in situ fluorescent hybridization (GISH) and molecular phylogenetics.
Key Results Sterile diploid hybrids containing AK genomes were obtained using A. batizocoi and the A genome species A. duranensis, A. stenosperma, A. correntina or A. villosa. From these, three types of AAKK allotetraploids were obtained, each in multiple independent polyploidy events. Induced allotetraploids were vigorous and fertile, and were hybridized to A. hypogaea to produce F1 hybrids. Even with the same parental combination, fertility of these F1 hybrids varied greatly, suggesting the influence of stochastic genetic or epigenetic events. Interestingly, hybrids with A. hypogaea ssp. hypogaea were significantly more fertile than those with the subspecies fastigiata. GISH in cultivated × induced allotetraploids hybrids (harbouring AABK genomes) and a molecular phylogeny using 16 intron sequences showed that the K genome is distinct, but more closely related to the B than to the A genome.
Conclusions The K genome of A. batizocoi is more related to B than to the A genome, but is distinct. As such, when incorporated in an induced allotetraploid (AAKK) it can behave as a B genome in crosses with peanut. However, the fertility of hybrids and their progeny depends upon the compatibility of the A genome interactions. The genetic distinctness of A. batizocoi makes it an important source of allelic diversity in itself, especially in crosses involving A. hypogaea ssp. hypogaea.
PMCID: PMC4551086  PMID: 25538110
Arachis batizocoi; A. hypogaea; peanut; groundnut; pre-breeding; allotetraploid; polyploidization; introgression; wild species; GISH; orthologous genes; intron sequences; K genome
9.  Comparative and Evolutionary Analysis of Major Peanut Allergen Gene Families 
Genome Biology and Evolution  2014;6(9):2468-2488.
Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) causes one of the most serious food allergies. Peanut seed proteins, Arah1, Arah2, and Arah3, are considered to be among the most important peanut allergens. To gain insights into genome organization and evolution of allergen-encoding genes, approximately 617 kb from the genome of cultivated peanut and 215 kb from a wild relative were sequenced including three Arah1, one Arah2, eight Arah3, and two Arah6 gene family members. To assign polarity to differences between homoeologous regions in peanut, we used as outgroups the single orthologous regions in Medicago, Lotus, common bean, chickpea, and pigeonpea, which diverged from peanut about 50 Ma and have not undergone subsequent polyploidy. These regions were also compared with orthologs in many additional dicot plant species to help clarify the timing of evolutionary events. The lack of conservation of allergenic epitopes between species, and the fact that many different proteins can be allergenic, makes the identification of allergens across species by comparative studies difficult. The peanut allergen genes are interspersed with low-copy genes and transposable elements. Phylogenetic analyses revealed lineage-specific expansion and loss of low-copy genes between species and homoeologs. Arah1 syntenic regions are conserved in soybean, pigeonpea, tomato, grape, Lotus, and Arabidopsis, whereas Arah3 syntenic regions show genome rearrangements. We infer that tandem and segmental duplications led to the establishment of the Arah3 gene family. Our analysis indicates differences in conserved motifs in allergen proteins and in the promoter regions of the allergen-encoding genes. Phylogenetic analysis and genomic organization studies provide new insights into the evolution of the major peanut allergen-encoding genes.
PMCID: PMC4202325  PMID: 25193311
Arachis hypogaea L.; allergens; gene synteny; genome organization; homologs; evolution
10.  The repetitive component of the A genome of peanut (Arachis hypogaea) and its role in remodelling intergenic sequence space since its evolutionary divergence from the B genome 
Annals of Botany  2013;112(3):545-559.
Background and Aims
Peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is an allotetraploid (AABB-type genome) of recent origin, with a genome of about 2·8 Gb and a high repetitive content. This study reports an analysis of the repetitive component of the peanut A genome using bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones from A. duranensis, the most probable A genome donor, and the probable consequences of the activity of these elements since the divergence of the peanut A and B genomes.
The repetitive content of the A genome was analysed by using A. duranensis BAC clones as probes for fluorescence in situ hybridization (BAC-FISH), and by sequencing and characterization of 12 genomic regions. For the analysis of the evolutionary dynamics, two A genome regions are compared with their B genome homeologues.
Key Results
BAC-FISH using 27 A. duranensis BAC clones as probes gave dispersed and repetitive DNA characteristic signals, predominantly in interstitial regions of the peanut A chromosomes. The sequences of 14 BAC clones showed complete and truncated copies of ten abundant long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons, characterized here. Almost all dateable transposition events occurred <3·5 million years ago, the estimated date of the divergence of A and B genomes. The most abundant retrotransposon is Feral, apparently parasitic on the retrotransposon FIDEL, followed by Pipa, also non-autonomous and probably parasitic on a retrotransposon we named Pipoka. The comparison of the A and B genome homeologous regions showed conserved segments of high sequence identity, punctuated by predominantly indel regions without significant similarity.
A substantial proportion of the highly repetitive component of the peanut A genome appears to be accounted for by relatively few LTR retrotransposons and their truncated copies or solo LTRs. The most abundant of the retrotransposons are non-autonomous. The activity of these retrotransposons has been a very significant driver of genome evolution since the evolutionary divergence of the A and B genomes.
PMCID: PMC3718217  PMID: 23828319
Arachis hypogaea; A. duranensis; peanut; groundnut; BAC-FISH; BAC sequencing; retrotransposons; genome evolution; phylogeny; homeology
11.  A study of the relationships of cultivated peanut (Arachis hypogaea) and its most closely related wild species using intron sequences and microsatellite markers 
Annals of Botany  2012;111(1):113-126.
Background and Aims
The genus Arachis contains 80 described species. Section Arachis is of particular interest because it includes cultivated peanut, an allotetraploid, and closely related wild species, most of which are diploids. This study aimed to analyse the genetic relationships of multiple accessions of section Arachis species using two complementary methods. Microsatellites allowed the analysis of inter- and intraspecific variability. Intron sequences from single-copy genes allowed phylogenetic analysis including the separation of the allotetraploid genome components.
Intron sequences and microsatellite markers were used to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships in section Arachis through maximum parsimony and genetic distance analyses.
Key Results
Although high intraspecific variability was evident, there was good support for most species. However, some problems were revealed, notably a probable polyphyletic origin for A. kuhlmannii. The validity of the genome groups was well supported. The F, K and D genomes grouped close to the A genome group. The 2n = 18 species grouped closer to the B genome group. The phylogenetic tree based on the intron data strongly indicated that A. duranensis and A. ipaënsis are the ancestors of A. hypogaea and A. monticola. Intron nucleotide substitutions allowed the ages of divergences of the main genome groups to be estimated at a relatively recent 2·3–2·9 million years ago. This age and the number of species described indicate a much higher speciation rate for section Arachis than for legumes in general.
The analyses revealed relationships between the species and genome groups and showed a generally high level of intraspecific genetic diversity. The improved knowledge of species relationships should facilitate the utilization of wild species for peanut improvement. The estimates of speciation rates in section Arachis are high, but not unprecedented. We suggest these high rates may be linked to the peculiar reproductive biology of Arachis.
PMCID: PMC3523650  PMID: 23131301
Arachis; peanut; groundnut; intron sequences; single-copy genes; molecular phylogeny; microsatellites; genetic relationships; speciation rates; genome donors; molecular dating
12.  The Use of SNP Markers for Linkage Mapping in Diploid and Tetraploid Peanuts 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;4(1):89-96.
Single nucleotide polymorphic markers (SNPs) are attractive for use in genetic mapping and marker-assisted breeding because they can be scored in parallel assays at favorable costs. However, scoring SNP markers in polyploid plants like the peanut is problematic because of interfering signal generated from the DNA bases that are homeologous to those being assayed. The present study used a previously constructed 1536 GoldenGate SNP assay developed using SNPs identified between two A. duranensis accessions. In this study, the performance of this assay was tested on two RIL mapping populations, one diploid (A. duranensis × A. stenosperma) and one tetraploid [A. hypogaea cv. Runner IAC 886 × synthetic tetraploid (A. ipaënsis × A. duranensis)4×]. The scoring was performed using the software GenomeStudio version 2011.1. For the diploid, polymorphic markers provided excellent genotyping scores with default software parameters. In the tetraploid, as expected, most of the polymorphic markers provided signal intensity plots that were distorted compared to diploid patterns and that were incorrectly scored using default parameters. However, these scorings were easily corrected using the GenomeStudio software. The degree of distortion was highly variable. Of the polymorphic markers, approximately 10% showed no distortion at all behaving as expected for single-dose markers, and another 30% showed low distortion and could be considered high-quality. The genotyped markers were incorporated into diploid and tetraploid genetic maps of Arachis and, in the latter case, were located almost entirely on A genome linkage groups.
PMCID: PMC3887543  PMID: 24212082
Arachis; breeding; genotyping; markers; wild
13.  Integrated Consensus Map of Cultivated Peanut and Wild Relatives Reveals Structures of the A and B Genomes of Arachis and Divergence of the Legume Genomes 
The complex, tetraploid genome structure of peanut (Arachis hypogaea) has obstructed advances in genetics and genomics in the species. The aim of this study is to understand the genome structure of Arachis by developing a high-density integrated consensus map. Three recombinant inbred line populations derived from crosses between the A genome diploid species, Arachis duranensis and Arachis stenosperma; the B genome diploid species, Arachis ipaënsis and Arachis magna; and between the AB genome tetraploids, A. hypogaea and an artificial amphidiploid (A. ipaënsis × A. duranensis)4×, were used to construct genetic linkage maps: 10 linkage groups (LGs) of 544 cM with 597 loci for the A genome; 10 LGs of 461 cM with 798 loci for the B genome; and 20 LGs of 1442 cM with 1469 loci for the AB genome. The resultant maps plus 13 published maps were integrated into a consensus map covering 2651 cM with 3693 marker loci which was anchored to 20 consensus LGs corresponding to the A and B genomes. The comparative genomics with genome sequences of Cajanus cajan, Glycine max, Lotus japonicus, and Medicago truncatula revealed that the Arachis genome has segmented synteny relationship to the other legumes. The comparative maps in legumes, integrated tetraploid consensus maps, and genome-specific diploid maps will increase the genetic and genomic understanding of Arachis and should facilitate molecular breeding.
PMCID: PMC3628447  PMID: 23315685
Arachis spp.; comparative genomics; genetic linkage map; integrated consensus map; legume genome
14.  Construction of Chromosome Segment Substitution Lines in Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) Using a Wild Synthetic and QTL Mapping for Plant Morphology 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48642.
Chromosome segment substitution lines (CSSLs) are powerful QTL mapping populations that have been used to elucidate the molecular basis of interesting traits of wild species. Cultivated peanut is an allotetraploid with limited genetic diversity. Capturing the genetic diversity from peanut wild relatives is an important objective in many peanut breeding programs. In this study, we used a marker-assisted backcrossing strategy to produce a population of 122 CSSLs from the cross between the wild synthetic allotetraploid (A. ipaënsis×A. duranensis)4x and the cultivated Fleur11 variety. The 122 CSSLs offered a broad coverage of the peanut genome, with target wild chromosome segments averaging 39.2 cM in length. As a demonstration of the utility of these lines, four traits were evaluated in a subset of 80 CSSLs. A total of 28 lines showed significant differences from Fleur11. The line×trait significant associations were assigned to 42 QTLs: 14 for plant growth habit, 15 for height of the main stem, 12 for plant spread and one for flower color. Among the 42 QTLs, 37 were assigned to genomic regions and three QTL positions were considered putative. One important finding arising from this QTL analysis is that peanut growth habit is a complex trait that is governed by several QTLs with different effects. The CSSL population developed in this study has proved efficient for deciphering the molecular basis of trait variations and will be useful to the peanut scientific community for future QTL mapping studies.
PMCID: PMC3501512  PMID: 23185268
15.  Global transcriptome analysis of two wild relatives of peanut under drought and fungi infection 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:387.
Cultivated peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is one of the most widely grown grain legumes in the world, being valued for its high protein and unsaturated oil contents. Worldwide, the major constraints to peanut production are drought and fungal diseases. Wild Arachis species, which are exclusively South American in origin, have high genetic diversity and have been selected during evolution in a range of environments and biotic stresses, constituting a rich source of allele diversity. Arachis stenosperma harbors resistances to a number of pests, including fungal diseases, whilst A. duranensis has shown improved tolerance to water limited stress. In this study, these species were used for the creation of an extensive databank of wild Arachis transcripts under stress which will constitute a rich source for gene discovery and molecular markers development.
Transcriptome analysis of cDNA collections from A. stenosperma challenged with Cercosporidium personatum (Berk. and M.A. Curtis) Deighton, and A. duranensis submitted to gradual water limited stress was conducted using 454 GS FLX Titanium generating a total of 7.4 x 105 raw sequence reads covering 211 Mbp of both genomes. High quality reads were assembled to 7,723 contigs for A. stenosperma and 12,792 for A. duranensis and functional annotation indicated that 95% of the contigs in both species could be appointed to GO annotation categories. A number of transcription factors families and defense related genes were identified in both species. Additionally, the expression of five A. stenosperma Resistance Gene Analogs (RGAs) and four retrotransposon (FIDEL-related) sequences were analyzed by qRT-PCR. This data set was used to design a total of 2,325 EST-SSRs, of which a subset of 584 amplified in both species and 214 were shown to be polymorphic using ePCR.
This study comprises one of the largest unigene dataset for wild Arachis species and will help to elucidate genes involved in responses to biological processes such as fungal diseases and water limited stress. Moreover, it will also facilitate basic and applied research on the genetics of peanut through the development of new molecular markers and the study of adaptive variation across the genus.
PMCID: PMC3496627  PMID: 22888963
16.  An International Reference Consensus Genetic Map with 897 Marker Loci Based on 11 Mapping Populations for Tetraploid Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41213.
Only a few genetic maps based on recombinant inbred line (RIL) and backcross (BC) populations have been developed for tetraploid groundnut. The marker density, however, is not very satisfactory especially in the context of large genome size (2800 Mb/1C) and 20 linkage groups (LGs). Therefore, using marker segregation data for 10 RILs and one BC population from the international groundnut community, with the help of common markers across different populations, a reference consensus genetic map has been developed. This map is comprised of 897 marker loci including 895 simple sequence repeat (SSR) and 2 cleaved amplified polymorphic sequence (CAPS) loci distributed on 20 LGs (a01–a10 and b01–b10) spanning a map distance of 3, 863.6 cM with an average map density of 4.4 cM. The highest numbers of markers (70) were integrated on a01 and the least number of markers (21) on b09. The marker density, however, was lowest (6.4 cM) on a08 and highest (2.5 cM) on a01. The reference consensus map has been divided into 20 cM long 203 BINs. These BINs carry 1 (a10_02, a10_08 and a10_09) to 20 (a10_04) loci with an average of 4 marker loci per BIN. Although the polymorphism information content (PIC) value was available for 526 markers in 190 BINs, 36 and 111 BINs have at least one marker with >0.70 and >0.50 PIC values, respectively. This information will be useful for selecting highly informative and uniformly distributed markers for developing new genetic maps, background selection and diversity analysis. Most importantly, this reference consensus map will serve as a reliable reference for aligning new genetic and physical maps, performing QTL analysis in a multi-populations design, evaluating the genetic background effect on QTL expression, and serving other genetic and molecular breeding activities in groundnut.
PMCID: PMC3399818  PMID: 22815973
17.  Fostered and left behind alleles in peanut: interspecific QTL mapping reveals footprints of domestication and useful natural variation for breeding 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:26.
Polyploidy can result in genetic bottlenecks, especially for species of monophyletic origin. Cultivated peanut is an allotetraploid harbouring limited genetic diversity, likely resulting from the combined effects of its single origin and domestication. Peanut wild relatives represent an important source of novel alleles that could be used to broaden the genetic basis of the cultigen. Using an advanced backcross population developed with a synthetic amphidiploid as donor of wild alleles, under two water regimes, we conducted a detailed QTL study for several traits involved in peanut productivity and adaptation as well as domestication.
A total of 95 QTLs were mapped in the two water treatments. About half of the QTL positive effects were associated with alleles of the wild parent and several QTLs involved in yield components were specific to the water-limited treatment. QTLs detected for the same trait mapped to non-homeologous genomic regions, suggesting differential control in subgenomes as a consequence of polyploidization. The noteworthy clustering of QTLs for traits involved in seed and pod size and in plant and pod morphology suggests, as in many crops, that a small number of loci have contributed to peanut domestication.
In our study, we have identified QTLs that differentiated cultivated peanut from its wild relatives as well as wild alleles that contributed positive variation to several traits involved in peanut productivity and adaptation. These findings offer novel opportunities for peanut improvement using wild relatives.
PMCID: PMC3312858  PMID: 22340522
18.  Development and characterization of highly polymorphic long TC repeat microsatellite markers for genetic analysis of peanut 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:86.
Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is a crop of economic and social importance, mainly in tropical areas, and developing countries. Its molecular breeding has been hindered by a shortage of polymorphic genetic markers due to a very narrow genetic base. Microsatellites (SSRs) are markers of choice in peanut because they are co-dominant, highly transferrable between species and easily applicable in the allotetraploid genome. In spite of substantial effort over the last few years by a number of research groups, the number of SSRs that are polymorphic for A. hypogaea is still limiting for routine application, creating the demand for the discovery of more markers polymorphic within cultivated germplasm.
A plasmid genomic library enriched for TC/AG repeats was constructed and 1401 clones sequenced. From the sequences obtained 146 primer pairs flanking mostly TC microsatellites were developed. The average number of repeat motifs amplified was 23. These 146 markers were characterized on 22 genotypes of cultivated peanut. In total 78 of the markers were polymorphic within cultivated germplasm. Most of those 78 markers were highly informative with an average of 5.4 alleles per locus being amplified. Average gene diversity index (GD) was 0.6, and 66 markers showed a GD of more than 0.5. Genetic relationship analysis was performed and corroborated the current taxonomical classification of A. hypogaea subspecies and varieties.
The microsatellite markers described here are a useful resource for genetics and genomics in Arachis. In particular, the 66 markers that are highly polymorphic in cultivated peanut are a significant step towards routine genetic mapping and marker-assisted selection for the crop.
PMCID: PMC3296580  PMID: 22305491
19.  Development and characterization of BAC-end sequence derived SSRs, and their incorporation into a new higher density genetic map for cultivated peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:10.
Cultivated peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is an important crop worldwide, valued for its edible oil and digestible protein. It has a very narrow genetic base that may well derive from a relatively recent single polyploidization event. Accordingly molecular markers have low levels of polymorphism and the number of polymorphic molecular markers available for cultivated peanut is still limiting.
Here, we report a large set of BAC-end sequences (BES), use them for developing SSR (BES-SSR) markers, and apply them in genetic linkage mapping. The majority of BESs had no detectable homology to known genes (49.5%) followed by sequences with similarity to known genes (44.3%), and miscellaneous sequences (6.2%) such as transposable element, retroelement, and organelle sequences. A total of 1,424 SSRs were identified from 36,435 BESs. Among these identified SSRs, dinucleotide (47.4%) and trinucleotide (37.1%) SSRs were predominant. The new set of 1,152 SSRs as well as about 4,000 published or unpublished SSRs were screened against two parents of a mapping population, generating 385 polymorphic loci. A genetic linkage map was constructed, consisting of 318 loci onto 21 linkage groups and covering a total of 1,674.4 cM, with an average distance of 5.3 cM between adjacent loci. Two markers related to resistance gene homologs (RGH) were mapped to two different groups, thus anchoring 1 RGH-BAC contig and 1 singleton.
The SSRs mined from BESs will be of use in further molecular analysis of the peanut genome, providing a novel set of markers, genetically anchoring BAC clones, and incorporating gene sequences into a linkage map. This will aid in the identification of markers linked to genes of interest and map-based cloning.
PMCID: PMC3298471  PMID: 22260238
20.  Reference genes for quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction expression studies in wild and cultivated peanut 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:339.
Wild peanut species (Arachis spp.) are a rich source of new alleles for peanut improvement. Plant transcriptome analysis under specific experimental conditions helps the understanding of cellular processes related, for instance, to development, stress response, and crop yield. The validation of these studies has been generally accomplished by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) which requires normalization of mRNA levels among samples. This can be achieved by comparing the expression ratio between a gene of interest and a reference gene which is constitutively expressed. Nowadays there is a lack of appropriate reference genes for both wild and cultivated Arachis. The identification of such genes would allow a consistent analysis of qRT-PCR data and speed up candidate gene validation in peanut.
A set of ten reference genes were analyzed in four Arachis species (A. magna; A. duranensis; A. stenosperma and A. hypogaea) subjected to biotic (root-knot nematode and leaf spot fungus) and abiotic (drought) stresses, in two distinct plant organs (roots and leaves). By the use of three programs (GeNorm, NormFinder and BestKeeper) and taking into account the entire dataset, five of these ten genes, ACT1 (actin depolymerizing factor-like protein), UBI1 (polyubiquitin), GAPDH (glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase), 60S (60S ribosomal protein L10) and UBI2 (ubiquitin/ribosomal protein S27a) emerged as top reference genes, with their stability varying in eight subsets. The former three genes were the most stable across all species, organs and treatments studied.
This first in-depth study of reference genes validation in wild Arachis species will allow the use of specific combinations of secure and stable reference genes in qRT-PCR assays. The use of these appropriate references characterized here should improve the accuracy and reliability of gene expression analysis in both wild and cultivated Arachis and contribute for the better understanding of gene expression in, for instance, stress tolerance/resistance mechanisms in plants.
PMCID: PMC3180468  PMID: 21906295
21.  Identification of candidate genome regions controlling disease resistance in Arachis 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:112.
Worldwide, diseases are important reducers of peanut (Arachis hypogaea) yield. Sources of resistance against many diseases are available in cultivated peanut genotypes, although often not in farmer preferred varieties. Wild species generally harbor greater levels of resistance and even apparent immunity, although the linkage of agronomically un-adapted wild alleles with wild disease resistance genes is inevitable. Marker-assisted selection has the potential to facilitate the combination of both cultivated and wild resistance loci with agronomically adapted alleles. However, in peanut there is an almost complete lack of knowledge of the regions of the Arachis genome that control disease resistance.
In this work we identified candidate genome regions that control disease resistance. For this we placed candidate disease resistance genes and QTLs against late leaf spot disease on the genetic map of the A-genome of Arachis, which is based on microsatellite markers and legume anchor markers. These marker types are transferable within the genus Arachis and to other legumes respectively, enabling this map to be aligned to other Arachis maps and to maps of other legume crops including those with sequenced genomes. In total, 34 sequence-confirmed candidate disease resistance genes and five QTLs were mapped.
Candidate genes and QTLs were distributed on all linkage groups except for the smallest, but the distribution was not even. Groupings of candidate genes and QTLs for late leaf spot resistance were apparent on the upper region of linkage group 4 and the lower region of linkage group 2, indicating that these regions are likely to control disease resistance.
PMCID: PMC2739205  PMID: 19698131
22.  Genetic mapping of wild introgressions into cultivated peanut: a way toward enlarging the genetic basis of a recent allotetraploid 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:103.
Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is widely used as a food and cash crop around the world. It is considered to be an allotetraploid (2n = 4x = 40) originated from a single hybridization event between two wild diploids. The most probable hypothesis gave A. duranensis as the wild donor of the A genome and A. ipaënsis as the wild donor of the B genome. A low level of molecular polymorphism is found in cultivated germplasm and up to date few genetic linkage maps have been published. The utilization of wild germplasm in breeding programs has received little attention due to the reproductive barriers between wild and cultivated species and to the technical difficulties encountered in making large number of crosses. We report here the development of a SSR based genetic map and the analysis of genome-wide segment introgressions into the background of a cultivated variety through the utilization of a synthetic amphidiploid between A. duranensis and A. ipaënsis.
Two hundred ninety eight (298) loci were mapped in 21 linkage groups (LGs), spanning a total map distance of 1843.7 cM with an average distance of 6.1 cM between adjacent markers. The level of polymorphism observed between the parent of the amphidiploid and the cultivated variety is consistent with A. duranensis and A. ipaënsis being the most probable donor of the A and B genomes respectively. The synteny analysis between the A and B genomes revealed an overall good collinearity of the homeologous LGs. The comparison with the diploid and tetraploid maps shed new light on the evolutionary forces that contributed to the divergence of the A and B genome species and raised the question of the classification of the B genome species. Structural modifications such as chromosomal segment inversions and a major translocation event prior to the tetraploidisation of the cultivated species were revealed. Marker assisted selection of BC1F1 and then BC2F1 lines carrying the desirable donor segment with the best possible return to the background of the cultivated variety provided a set of lines offering an optimal distribution of the wild introgressions.
The genetic map developed, allowed the synteny analysis of the A and B genomes, the comparison with diploid and tetraploid maps and the analysis of the introgression segments from the wild synthetic into the background of a cultivated variety. The material we have produced in this study should facilitate the development of advanced backcross and CSSL breeding populations for the improvement of cultivated peanut.
PMCID: PMC3091533  PMID: 19650911
23.  A linkage map for the B-genome of Arachis (Fabaceae) and its synteny to the A-genome 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:40.
Arachis hypogaea (peanut) is an important crop worldwide, being mostly used for edible oil production, direct consumption and animal feed. Cultivated peanut is an allotetraploid species with two different genome components, A and B. Genetic linkage maps can greatly assist molecular breeding and genomic studies. However, the development of linkage maps for A. hypogaea is difficult because it has very low levels of polymorphism. This can be overcome by the utilization of wild species of Arachis, which present the A- and B-genomes in the diploid state, and show high levels of genetic variability.
In this work, we constructed a B-genome linkage map, which will complement the previously published map for the A-genome of Arachis, and produced an entire framework for the tetraploid genome. This map is based on an F2 population of 93 individuals obtained from the cross between the diploid A. ipaënsis (K30076) and the closely related A. magna (K30097), the former species being the most probable B genome donor to cultivated peanut. In spite of being classified as different species, the parents showed high crossability and relatively low polymorphism (22.3%), compared to other interspecific crosses. The map has 10 linkage groups, with 149 loci spanning a total map distance of 1,294 cM. The microsatellite markers utilized, developed for other Arachis species, showed high transferability (81.7%). Segregation distortion was 21.5%. This B-genome map was compared to the A-genome map using 51 common markers, revealing a high degree of synteny between both genomes.
The development of genetic maps for Arachis diploid wild species with A- and B-genomes effectively provides a genetic map for the tetraploid cultivated peanut in two separate diploid components and is a significant advance towards the construction of a transferable reference map for Arachis. Additionally, we were able to identify affinities of some Arachis linkage groups with Medicago truncatula, which will allow the transfer of information from the nearly-complete genome sequences of this model legume to the peanut crop.
PMCID: PMC2674605  PMID: 19351409
24.  An analysis of synteny of Arachis with Lotus and Medicago sheds new light on the structure, stability and evolution of legume genomes 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:45.
Most agriculturally important legumes fall within two sub-clades of the Papilionoid legumes: the Phaseoloids and Galegoids, which diverged about 50 Mya. The Phaseoloids are mostly tropical and include crops such as common bean and soybean. The Galegoids are mostly temperate and include clover, fava bean and the model legumes Lotus and Medicago (both with substantially sequenced genomes). In contrast, peanut (Arachis hypogaea) falls in the Dalbergioid clade which is more basal in its divergence within the Papilionoids. The aim of this work was to integrate the genetic map of Arachis with Lotus and Medicago and improve our understanding of the Arachis genome and legume genomes in general. To do this we placed on the Arachis map, comparative anchor markers defined using a previously described bioinformatics pipeline. Also we investigated the possible role of transposons in the patterns of synteny that were observed.
The Arachis genetic map was substantially aligned with Lotus and Medicago with most synteny blocks presenting a single main affinity to each genome. This indicates that the last common whole genome duplication within the Papilionoid legumes predated the divergence of Arachis from the Galegoids and Phaseoloids sufficiently that the common ancestral genome was substantially diploidized. The Arachis and model legume genomes comparison made here, together with a previously published comparison of Lotus and Medicago allowed all possible Arachis-Lotus-Medicago species by species comparisons to be made and genome syntenies observed. Distinct conserved synteny blocks and non-conserved regions were present in all genome comparisons, implying that certain legume genomic regions are consistently more stable during evolution than others. We found that in Medicago and possibly also in Lotus, retrotransposons tend to be more frequent in the variable regions. Furthermore, while these variable regions generally have lower densities of single copy genes than the more conserved regions, some harbor high densities of the fast evolving disease resistance genes.
We suggest that gene space in Papilionoids may be divided into two broadly defined components: more conserved regions which tend to have low retrotransposon densities and are relatively stable during evolution; and variable regions that tend to have high retrotransposon densities, and whose frequent restructuring may fuel the evolution of some gene families.
PMCID: PMC2656529  PMID: 19166586
25.  Analysis of non-TIR NBS-LRR resistance gene analogs in Musa acuminata Colla: Isolation, RFLP marker development, and physical mapping 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:15.
Many commercial banana varieties lack sources of resistance to pests and diseases, as a consequence of sterility and narrow genetic background. Fertile wild relatives, by contrast, possess greater variability and represent potential sources of disease resistance genes (R-genes). The largest known family of plant R-genes encode proteins with nucleotide-binding site (NBS) and C-terminal leucine-rich repeat (LRR) domains. Conserved motifs in such genes in diverse plant species offer a means for isolation of candidate genes in banana which may be involved in plant defence.
A computational strategy was developed for unbiased conserved motif discovery in NBS and LRR domains in R-genes and homologues in monocotyledonous plant species. Degenerate PCR primers targeting conserved motifs were tested on the wild cultivar Musa acuminata subsp. burmannicoides, var. Calcutta 4, which is resistant to a number of fungal pathogens and nematodes. One hundred and seventy four resistance gene analogs (RGAs) were amplified and assembled into 52 contiguous sequences. Motifs present were typical of the non-TIR NBS-LRR RGA subfamily. A phylogenetic analysis of deduced amino-acid sequences for 33 RGAs with contiguous open reading frames (ORFs), together with RGAs from Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa, grouped most Musa RGAs within monocotyledon-specific clades. RFLP-RGA markers were developed, with 12 displaying distinct polymorphisms in parentals and F1 progeny of a diploid M. acuminata mapping population. Eighty eight BAC clones were identified in M. acuminata Calcutta 4, M. acuminata Grande Naine, and M. balbisiana Pisang Klutuk Wulung BAC libraries when hybridized to two RGA probes. Multiple copy RGAs were common within BAC clones, potentially representing variation reservoirs for evolution of new R-gene specificities.
This is the first large scale analysis of NBS-LRR RGAs in M. acuminata Calcutta 4. Contig sequences were deposited in GenBank and assigned numbers ER935972 – ER936023. RGA sequences and isolated BACs are a valuable resource for R-gene discovery, and in future applications will provide insight into the organization and evolution of NBS-LRR R-genes in the Musa A and B genome. The developed RFLP-RGA markers are applicable for genetic map development and marker assisted selection for defined traits such as pest and disease resistance.
PMCID: PMC2262081  PMID: 18234103

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