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1.  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
2.  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
3.  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
4.  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
5.  Phylogenetic relationships in genus Arachis based on ITS and 5.8S rDNA sequences 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:255.
The genus Arachis comprises 80 species and it is subdivided into nine taxonomic sections (Arachis, Caulorrhizae, Erectoides, Extranervosae, Heteranthae, Procumbentes, Rhizomatosae, Trierectoides, and Triseminatae). This genus is naturally confined to South America and most of its species are native to Brazil. In order to provide a better understanding of the evolution of the genus, we reconstructed the phylogeny of 45 species using the variation observed on nucleotide sequences in internal transcribed spacer regions (ITS1 and ITS2) and 5.8 S of nuclear ribosomal DNA.
Intraspecific variation was detected, but in general it was not enough to place accessions of the same species in different clades. Our data support the view that Arachis is a monophyletic group and suggested Heteranthae as the most primitive section of genus Arachis. The results confirmed the circumscriptions of some sections (Caulorrhizae, Extranervosae), but raised questions about others. Sections Erectoides, Trierectoides and Procumbentes were not well defined, while sections Arachis and Rhizomatosae seem to include species that could be moved to different sections. The division of section Arachis into A and B genome species was also observed in the phylogenetic tree and these two groups of species may not have a monophyletic origin. The 2n = 2x = 18 species of section Arachis (A. praecox, A. palustris and A. decora) were all placed in the same clade, indicating they are closely related to each other, and their genomes are more related to B genome than to the A genome. Data also allowed insights on the origin of tetraploid A. glabrata, suggesting rhizome appeared twice within the genus and raising questions about the placement of that species in section Rhizomatosae.
The main clades established in this study in general agreed with many other studies that have used other types of evidences and sets of species, being some of them included in our study and some not. Thus, the relationships established can be a useful framework for future systematic reviews of genus Arachis and for the selection of species to pre-breeding programs.
PMCID: PMC3095334  PMID: 21092103
6.  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
7.  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
8.  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 1-8 (8)