Pangenomes as a Resource to Accelerate Breeding of Under-Utilised Crop Species

Cassandria Geraldine Tay Fernandez, Benjamin John Nestor, Monica Furaste Danilevicz, Mitchell Gill, Jakob Petereit, Philipp Emanuel Bayer, Patrick Michael Finnegan, Jacqueline Batley, David Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Pangenomes are a rich resource to examine the genomic variation observed within a species or genera, supporting population genetics studies, with applications for the improvement of crop traits. Major crop species such as maize (Zea mays), rice (Oryza sativa), Brassica (Brassica spp.), and soybean (Glycine max) have had pangenomes constructed and released, and this has led to the discovery of valuable genes associated with disease resistance and yield components. However, pangenome data are not available for many less prominent crop species that are currently under-utilised. Despite many under-utilised species being important food sources in regional populations, the scarcity of genomic data for these species hinders their improvement. Here, we assess several under-utilised crops and review the pangenome approaches that could be used to build resources for their improvement. Many of these under-utilised crops are cultivated in arid or semi-arid environments, suggesting that novel genes related to drought tolerance may be identified and used for introgression into related major crop species. In addition, we discuss how previously collected data could be used to enrich pangenome functional analysis in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) based on studies in major crops. Considering the technological advances in genome sequencing, pangenome references for under-utilised species are becoming more obtainable, offering the opportunity to identify novel genes related to agro-morphological traits in these species.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2671
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


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