Chromosome-length genome assemblies of six legume species provide insights into genome organization, evolution, and agronomic traits for crop improvement

Vanika Garg, Olga Dudchenko, Jinpeng Wang, Aamir W. Khan, Saurabh Gupta, Parwinder Kaur, Kai Han, Rachit K. Saxena, Sandip M. Kale, Melanie Pham, Jigao Yu, Annapurna Chitikineni, Zhikang Zhang, Guangyi Fan, Christopher Lui, Vinodkumar Valluri, Fanbo Meng, Aditi Bhandari, Xiaochuan Liu, Tao YangHua Chen, Babu Valliyodan, Manish Roorkiwal, Chengcheng Shi, Hong Bin Yang, Neva C. Durand, Manish K. Pandey, Guowei Li, Rutwik Barmukh, Xingjun Wang, Xiaoping Chen, Hon Ming Lam, Huifang Jiang, Xuxiao Zong, Xuanqiang Liang, Xin Liu, Boshou Liao, Baozhu Guo, Scott Jackson, Henry T. Nguyen, Weijian Zhuang, Wan Shubo, Xiyin Wang, Erez Lieberman Aiden, Jeffrey L. Bennetzen, Rajeev K. Varshney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Web of Science)


Introduction: Legume crops are an important source of protein and oil for human health and in fixing atmospheric N2 for soil enrichment. With an objective to accelerate much-needed genetic analyses and breeding applications, draft genome assemblies were generated in several legume crops; many of them are not high quality because they are mainly based on short reads. However, the superior quality of genome assembly is crucial for a detailed understanding of genomic architecture, genome evolution, and crop improvement. Objectives: Present study was undertaken with an objective of developing improved chromosome-length genome assemblies in six different legumes followed by their systematic investigation to unravel different aspects of genome organization and legume evolution. Methods: We employed in situ Hi-C data to improve the existing draft genomes and performed different evolutionary and comparative analyses using improved genome assemblies. Results: We have developed chromosome-length genome assemblies in chickpea, pigeonpea, soybean, subterranean clover, and two wild progenitor species of cultivated groundnut (A. duranensis and A. ipaensis). A comprehensive comparative analysis of these genome assemblies offered improved insights into various evolutionary events that shaped the present-day legume species. We highlighted the expansion of gene families contributing to unique traits such as nodulation in legumes, gravitropism in groundnut, and oil biosynthesis in oilseed legume crops such as groundnut and soybean. As examples, we have demonstrated the utility of improved genome assemblies for enhancing the resolution of “QTL-hotspot” identification for drought tolerance in chickpea and marker-trait associations for agronomic traits in pigeonpea through genome-wide association study. Genomic resources developed in this study are publicly available through an online repository, ‘Legumepedia’. Conclusion: This study reports chromosome-length genome assemblies of six legume species and demonstrates the utility of these assemblies in crop improvement. The genomic resources developed here will have significant role in accelerating genetic improvement applications of legume crops.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-329
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Advanced Research
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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