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1.  Insight into the AP2/ERF transcription factor superfamily in sesame and expression profiling of DREB subfamily under drought stress 
BMC Plant Biology  2016;16:171.
Sesame is an important oilseed crop mainly grown in inclement areas with high temperatures and frequent drought. Thus, drought constitutes one of the major constraints of its production. The AP2/ERF is a large family of transcription factors known to play significant roles in various plant processes including biotic and abiotic stress responses. Despite their importance, little is known about sesame AP2/ERF genes. This constitutes a limitation for drought-tolerance candidate genes discovery and breeding for tolerance to water deficit.
One hundred thirty-two AP2/ERF genes were identified in the sesame genome. Based on the number of domains, conserved motifs, genes structure and phylogenetic analysis including 5 relatives species, they were classified into 24 AP2, 41 DREB, 61 ERF, 4 RAV and 2 Soloist. The number of sesame AP2/ERF genes was relatively few compared to that of other relatives, probably due to gene loss in ERF and DREB subfamilies during evolutionary process. In general, the AP2/ERF genes were expressed differently in different tissues but exhibited the highest expression levels in the root. Mostly all DREB genes were responsive to drought stress. Regulation by drought is not specific to one DREB group but depends on the genes and the group A6 and A1 appeared to be more actively expressed to cope with drought.
This study provides insights into the classification, evolution and basic functional analysis of AP2/ERF genes in sesame which revealed their putative involvement in multiple tissue-/developmental stages. Out of 20 genes which were significantly up- /down-regulated under drought stress, the gene AP2si16 may be considered as potential candidate gene for further functional validation as well for utilization in sesame improvement programs for drought stress tolerance.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-016-0859-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4967514  PMID: 27475988
Sesamum indicum; AP2/ERF; Transcription factors; Gene expression; Drought stress
2.  Analysis of Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of Sesame Accessions from Africa and Asia as Major Centers of Its Cultivation 
Genes  2016;7(4):14.
Sesame is an important oil crop widely cultivated in Africa and Asia. Understanding the genetic diversity of accessions from these continents is critical to designing breeding methods and for additional collection of sesame germplasm. To determine the genetic diversity in relation to geographical regions, 96 sesame accessions collected from 22 countries distributed over six geographic regions in Africa and Asia were genotyped using 33 polymorphic SSR markers. Large genetic variability was found within the germplasm collection. The total number of alleles was 137, averaging 4.15 alleles per locus. The accessions from Asia displayed more diversity than those from Africa. Accessions from Southern Asia (SAs), Eastern Asia (EAs), and Western Africa (WAf) were highly diversified, while those from Western Asia (WAs), Northern Africa (NAf), and Southeastern Africa (SAf) had the lowest diversity. The analysis of molecular variance revealed that more than 44% of the genetic variance was due to diversity among geographic regions. Five subpopulations, including three in Asia and two in Africa, were cross-identified through phylogenetic, PCA, and STRUCTURE analyses. Most accessions clustered in the same population based on their geographical origins. Our results provide technical guidance for efficient management of sesame genetic resources in breeding programs and further collection of sesame germplasm from these different regions.
PMCID: PMC4846844  PMID: 27077887
Sesamum indicum; genetic diversity; geographic origin; Asia; Africa; SSR
3.  Evidence of Genomic Exchanges between Homeologous Chromosomes in a Cross of Peanut with Newly Synthetized Allotetraploid Hybrids 
Cultivated peanut and synthetics are allotetraploids (2n = 4x = 40) with two homeologous sets of chromosomes. Meiosis in allotetraploid peanut is generally thought to show diploid-like behavior. However, a recent study pointed out the occurrence of recombination between homeologous chromosomes, especially when synthetic allotetraploids are used, challenging the view of disomic inheritance in peanut. In this study, we investigated the meiotic behavior of allotetraploid peanut using 380 SSR markers and 90 F2 progeny derived from the cross between Arachis hypogaea cv Fleur 11 (AABB) and ISATGR278-18 (AAKK), a synthetic allotetraploid that harbors a K-genome that was reported to pair with the cultivated B-genome during meiosis. Segregation analysis of SSR markers showed 42 codominant SSRs with unexpected null bands among some progeny. Chi-square tests for these loci deviate from the expected 1:2:1 Mendelian ratio under disomic inheritance. A linkage map of 357 codominant loci aligned on 20 linkage groups (LGs) with a total length of 1728 cM, averaging 5.1 cM between markers, was developed. Among the 10 homeologous sets of LGs, one set consisted of markers that all segregated in a polysomic-like pattern, six in a likely disomic pattern and the three remaining in a mixed pattern with disomic and polysomic loci clustered on the same LG. Moreover, we reported a substitution of homeologous chromosomes in some progeny. Our results suggest that the homeologous recombination events occurred between the A and K genomes in the newly synthesized allotetraploid and have been highlighted in the progeny. Homeologous exchanges are rarely observed in tetraploid peanut and have not yet been reported for AAKK and AABB genomes. The implications of these results on peanut breeding are discussed.
PMCID: PMC5088615  PMID: 27847512
genetic map; disomic; polysomic; breeding; inheritance; peanut; allotetraploid
4.  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
5.  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

Results 1-5 (5)