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1.  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
2.  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
3.  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
4.  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
5.  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
6.  BAC libraries construction from the ancestral diploid genomes of the allotetraploid cultivated peanut 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:14.
Cultivated peanut, Arachis hypogaea is an allotetraploid of recent origin, with an AABB genome. In common with many other polyploids, it seems that a severe genetic bottle-neck was imposed at the species origin, via hybridisation of two wild species and spontaneous chromosome duplication. Therefore, the study of the genome of peanut is hampered both by the crop's low genetic diversity and its polyploidy. In contrast to cultivated peanut, most wild Arachis species are diploid with high genetic diversity. The study of diploid Arachis genomes is therefore attractive, both to simplify the construction of genetic and physical maps, and for the isolation and characterization of wild alleles. The most probable wild ancestors of cultivated peanut are A. duranensis and A. ipaënsis with genome types AA and BB respectively.
We constructed and characterized two large-insert libraries in Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC) vector, one for each of the diploid ancestral species. The libraries (AA and BB) are respectively c. 7.4 and c. 5.3 genome equivalents with low organelle contamination and average insert sizes of 110 and 100 kb. Both libraries were used for the isolation of clones containing genetically mapped legume anchor markers (single copy genes), and resistance gene analogues.
These diploid BAC libraries are important tools for the isolation of wild alleles conferring resistances to biotic stresses, comparisons of orthologous regions of the AA and BB genomes with each other and with other legume species, and will facilitate the construction of a physical map.
PMCID: PMC2254395  PMID: 18230166
7.  ESTs from a wild Arachis species for gene discovery and marker development 
BMC Plant Biology  2007;7:7.
Due to its origin, peanut has a very narrow genetic background. Wild relatives can be a source of genetic variability for cultivated peanut. In this study, the transcriptome of the wild species Arachis stenosperma accession V10309 was analyzed.
ESTs were produced from four cDNA libraries of RNAs extracted from leaves and roots of A. stenosperma. Randomly selected cDNA clones were sequenced to generate 8,785 ESTs, of which 6,264 (71.3%) had high quality, with 3,500 clusters: 963 contigs and 2537 singlets. Only 55.9% matched homologous sequences of known genes. ESTs were classified into 23 different categories according to putative protein functions. Numerous sequences related to disease resistance, drought tolerance and human health were identified. Two hundred and six microsatellites were found and markers have been developed for 188 of these. The microsatellite profile was analyzed and compared to other transcribed and genomic sequence data.
This is, to date, the first report on the analysis of transcriptome of a wild relative of peanut. The ESTs produced in this study are a valuable resource for gene discovery, the characterization of new wild alleles, and for marker development. The ESTs were released in the [GenBank:EH041934 to EH048197].
PMCID: PMC1808460  PMID: 17302987

Results 1-7 (7)