Comparative genomic analysis in Zingiberales: what can we learn from banana to enable Ensete and Boesenbergia to reach their potential?
Talk for Plant and Animal Genomics XXV 25 - San Diego January 2017
Trude Schwarzacher, Jennifer A. Harikrishna and Pat Heslop-Harrison, University of Leicester and University of Malaya
Within the Zingiberales there are many orphan crops that are grown in Africa and Asia where recently started genomic efforts will have an impact for the future understanding and breeding of these crops. Advanced genomics and genome knowledge of the taxonomically closely related genus Musa will help identify genes and their function. We will discuss relevant recent work with Musa and results from DNA sequencing, examinations of diversity and studies of genome structure, gene expression and epigenetic control in Boesenbergia and ensete. Ensete is an important starch staple food in Ethiopia. It is harvested just as the monocarpic plant starts to flower, a few years after planting, and the stored starch extracted from the pseudo-stem and corm. A genome sequence has been published, but there is little genomics. Characterization of the diversity in the species and understanding of the differences to Musa will enable selection and breeding for crop improvement to meet the requirements of increasing populations, climate change and environmental sustainability. Boesenbergia rotunda is widely used in traditional medicine in Asia and has been shown to produce secondary metabolites with antiviral activity. For high throughput propagation and metabolite production in vitro culture is employed; embryogenic calli of B. rotunda in vitro are able to regenerate into plants but lose this ability after prolonged periods in cell suspension media. Epigenetic factors, including histone modifications and DNA methylation are likely to play crucial roles in the regulation of genes involved in totipotency and plant regeneration. These findings are also relevant to other crops within the Zingiberales. Further details will be given at www.molcyt.com