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Emerging knowledge from genome sequencing of crop species

Author(s): Barabaschi D, Guerra D, Lacrima K, Laino P, Michelotti V, et al.


Extensive insights into the genome composition, organization, and evolution have been gained from the plant genome sequencing and annotation ongoing projects. The analysis of crop genomes provided surprising evidences with important implications in plant origin and evolution: genome duplication, ancestral re-arrangements and unexpected polyploidization events opened new doors to address fundamental questions related to species proliferation, adaptation, and functional modulations. Detailed paleogenomic analysis led to many speculation on how chromosomes have been shaped over time in terms of gene content and order. The completion of the genome sequences of several major crops, prompted to a detailed identification and annotation of transposable elements: new hypothesis related to their composition, chromosomal distribution, insertion models, amplification rate, and evolution patterns are coming up. Availability of full genome sequence of several crop species as well as from many accessions within species is providing new keys for biodiversity exploitation and interpretation. Re-sequencing is enabling high-throughput genotyping to identify a wealth of SNP and afterward to produce haplotype maps necessary to accurately associate molecular variation to phenotype. Conservation genomics is emerging as a powerful tool to explain adaptation, genetic drift, natural selection, hybridization and to estimate genetic variation, fitness and population's viability.

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