Scientists unravel the genetic coding of the pea

February 25, 2008

The pea is one of many important crop species that is unsuited to the Agrobacterium-based genetic modification techniques that are commonly used to work with crops. Researchers, reporting in the open access journal Genome Biology have now discovered the first high-throughput forward and reverse genetics tool for the pea (Pisum sativum), could have major benefits for crop breeders around the world..

Researchers from the INRA Plant Genomics Research Unit at Evry, and the INRA Grain Legumes Research Unit at Bretenières, both in France, both in France developed a high-quality genetic reference collection of Pisum sativum mutants within the European Grain Legumes Integrated Project. Abdelhafid Bendahmane and colleagues used plants from an early-flowering garden pea cultivar, Caméor, to create a mutant population, which they then systematically phenotyped for use in both forward and reverse genetics studies.

The team set up a pea TILLING (Targeting Induced Local Lesions IN Genomes) platform with DNA samples from 4,704} plants. The TILLING technique overcomes the pea's natural unsuitability to genetic modification techniques, and provides a powerful tool for investigating the role of essential genes. This new tool has implications for both basic science and for crop improvement. TILLING is an alternative to Agrobacterium-based techniques, and uses EMS (ethane methyl sulfonate) mutagenesis coupled with a gene-specific detection of single-nucleotide mutations. This reverse genetic strategy can be applied to all types of organisms and can be automated for high-throughput approaches. Following this study, the researchers created a database called UTILLdb, which described each mutant plant at different developmental stages, (from seedling through to fruit maturation), and also incorporates digital images of the plants. UTILLdb contains phenotypic as well as sequence information on mutant genes, and can be searched for TILLING alleles of genes of interest, using the 'BLAST' tool, and for plant traits of interest, using keyword searches.

"By opening UTILLdb to the community, we hope to fulfil the expectations of both crop breeders and scientists who are using the pea as their model of study," said research coordinator Abdelhafid Bendahmane.
-end-
Notes to Editor:

1. UTILLdb, a Pisum sativum in silico forward and reverse genetics tool
Marion Dalmais, Julien Schmidt, Christine Le Signor, Francoise Moussy, Judith Burstin, Vincent Savois, Gregoire Aubert, Veronique Brunaud, Yannick de Oliveira, Cecile Guichard, Richard Thompson and Abdelhafid Bendahmane
Genome Biology (in press)

During embargo, article available at: http://genomebiology.com/imedia/1635085195172057_article.pdf?random=106863

After the embargo, article available at the journal website: http://genomebiology.com/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication

2. Genome Biology publishes articles from the full spectrum of biology. Subjects covered include any aspect of molecular, cellular, organismal or population biology studied from a genomic perspective, as well as genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, genomic methods (including structure prediction), computational biology, sequence analysis (including large-scale and cross-genome analyses), comparative biology and evolution. Genome Biology has an impact factor of 7.12.

3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an independent online publishing house committed to providing immediate access without charge to the peer-reviewed biological and medical research it publishes. This commitment is based on the view that open access to research is essential to the rapid and efficient communication of science.

BioMed Central

Related Genes Articles from Brightsurf:

Are male genes from Mars, female genes from Venus?
In a new paper in the PERSPECTIVES section of the journal Science, Melissa Wilson reviews current research into patterns of sex differences in gene expression across the genome, and highlights sampling biases in the human populations included in such studies.

New alcohol genes uncovered
Do you have what is known as problematic alcohol use?

How status sticks to genes
Life at the bottom of the social ladder may have long-term health effects that even upward mobility can't undo, according to new research in monkeys.

Symphony of genes
One of the most exciting discoveries in genome research was that the last common ancestor of all multicellular animals already possessed an extremely complex genome.

New genes out of nothing
One key question in evolutionary biology is how novel genes arise and develop.

Good genes
A team of scientists from NAU, Arizona State University, the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, the Center for Coastal Studies in Massachusetts and nine other institutions worldwide to study potential cancer suppression mechanisms in cetaceans, the mammalian group that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises.

How lifestyle affects our genes
In the past decade, knowledge of how lifestyle affects our genes, a research field called epigenetics, has grown exponentially.

Genes that regulate how much we dream
Sleep is known to allow animals to re-energize themselves and consolidate memories.

The genes are not to blame
Individualized dietary recommendations based on genetic information are currently a popular trend.

Timing is everything, to our genes
Salk scientists discover critical gene activity follows a biological clock, affecting diseases of the brain and body.

Read More: Genes News and Genes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.