Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Fabaceae


BACKGROUND: Cultivated peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is an allotetraploid species whose ancestral genomes are most likely derived from the A-genome species, A. duranensis, and the B-genome species, A. ipaensis. The very recent (several millennia) evolutionary origin of A. hypogaea has imposed a bottleneck for allelic and phenotypic diversity within the cultigen. However, wild, diploid relatives are a rich source of alleles that could be used for crop improvement and their simpler genomes can be more easily analyzed while providing insight into the structure of the allotetraploid peanut genome. The objective of this research was to establish a high-density genetic map of the diploid species A. duranensis based on de novo generated EST databases. Arachis duranensis was chosen for mapping because it is the A-genome progenitor of cultivated peanut and also in order to circumvent the confounding effects of gene duplication associated with allopolyploidy in A. hypogaea. RESULTS: More than one million expressed sequence tag (EST) sequences generated from normalized cDNA libraries of A. duranensis were assembled into 81,116 unique transcripts. Mining this dataset, 1236 EST-SNP markers were developed between two A. duranensis accessions, PI 475887 and Grif 15036. An additional 300 SNP markers also were developed from genomic sequences representing conserved legume orthologs. Of the 1536 SNP markers, 1054 were placed on a genetic map. In addition, 598 EST-SSR markers identified in A. hypogaea assemblies were included in the map along with 37 disease resistance gene candidate (RGC) and 35 other previously published markers. In total, 1724 markers spanning 1081.3 cM over 10 linkage groups were mapped. Gene sequences that provided mapped markers were annotated using similarity searches in three different databases, and gene ontology descriptions were determined using the Medicago Gene Atlas and TAIR databases. Synteny analysis between A. duranensis, Medicago and Glycine revealed significant stretches of conserved gene clusters spread across the peanut genome. A higher level of colinearity was detected between A. duranensis and Glycine than with Medicago. CONCLUSIONS: The first high-density, gene-based linkage map for A. duranensis was generated that can serve as a reference map for both wild and cultivated Arachis species. The markers developed here are valuable resources for the peanut, and more broadly, to the legume research community. The A-genome map will have utility for fine mapping in other peanut species and has already had application to mapping a nematode resistance gene that was introgressed into A. hypogaea from A. cardenasii.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Evolution, Genome, Genetic linkage, Fabaceae, Peanut, Arachis


The peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is an important oil crop. Breeding for high oil content is becoming increasingly important. Wild Arachis species have been reported to harbor genes for many valuable traits that may enable the improvement of cultivated Arachis hypogaea, such as resistance to pests and disease. However, only limited information is available on variation in oil content. In the present study, a collection of 72 wild Arachis accessions representing 19 species and 3 cultivated peanut accessions were genotyped using 136 genome-wide SSR markers and phenotyped for oil content over three growing seasons. The wild Arachis accessions showed abundant diversity across the 19 species. A. duranensis exhibited the highest diversity, with a Shannon-Weaver diversity index of 0.35. A total of 129 unique alleles were detected in the species studied. A. rigonii exhibited the largest number of unique alleles (75), indicating that this species is highly differentiated. AMOVA and genetic distance analyses confirmed the genetic differentiation between the wild Arachis species. The majority of SSR alleles were detected exclusively in the wild species and not in A. hypogaea, indicating that directional selection or the hitchhiking effect has played an important role in the domestication of the cultivated peanut. The 75 accessions were grouped into three clusters based on population structure and phylogenic analysis, consistent with their taxonomic sections, species and genome types. A. villosa and A. batizocoi were grouped with A. hypogaea, suggesting the close relationship between these two diploid wild species and the cultivated peanut. Considerable phenotypic variation in oil content was observed among different sections and species. Nine alleles were identified as associated with oil content based on association analysis, of these, three alleles were associated with higher oil content but were absent in the cultivated peanut. The results demonstrated that there is great potential to increase the oil content in A. hypogaea by using the wild Arachis germplasm.

Concepts: Gene, Evolution, Fabaceae, Peanut, Arachis, Diversity index, Shannon index, Measurement of biodiversity


Phytoestrogens constitute an attractive research topic due to their estrogenic profile and their biological involvement in woman’s health. Therefore, numerous studies are currently performed in natural products chemistry area aiming at the discovery of novel phytoestrogens. The main classes of phytoestrogens are flavonoids (flavonols, flavanones), isoflavonoids (isoflavones, coumestans), lignans, stilbenoids as well as miscellaneous chemical groups abundant in several edible and/or medicinal plants, belonging mostly to the Leguminosae family. As for other bioactives, the detection of new structures and more potent plant-derived phytoestrogens typically follows the general approaches currently available in the natural product discovery process. Plant-based approaches selected from traditional medicine knowledge and bioguided concepts are routinely employed. However, these approaches are associated with serious disadvantages such as time-consuming, repeated, and labor intensive processes as well as lack of specificity and reproducibility. In recent years, the natural products chemistry became more technology-driven, and several different strategies have been developed. Structure-oriented procedures and miniaturized approaches employing advanced hyphenated analytical platforms have recently emerged. They facilitate significantly not only the discovery of novel phytoestrogens but also the dereplication procedure leading to the anticipation of major drawbacks in natural products discovery. In this review, apart from the traditional concepts followed in phytochemistry for the discovery of novel biologically active compounds, recent applications in the field of extraction, analysis, fractionation, and identification of phytoestrogens will be discussed. Moreover, specific methodologies combining identification of actives and biological evaluation in parallel, such as liquid chromatography-biochemical detection, frontal affinity chromatography-mass spectrometry and pulsed ultrafiltration-MS will also be presented. Finally, miniaturized methods (microchip and biosensor) will be also discussed.With the current review, we attempt to give a wide and holistic overview of the different approaches which could be employed in the discovery of new phytoestrogens. On the other hand, we anticipate to attract more scientists to the area of phytoestrogens and to indicate the need of multidisciplinary concepts.

Concepts: Natural selection, Biology, Chemistry, Fabaceae, Flavonoid, Natural product, Natural products, Attractive


In complex and ever-changing environments, resources such as food are often scarce and unevenly distributed in space and time. Therefore, utilizing external cues to locate and remember high-quality sources allows more efficient foraging, thus increasing chances for survival. Associations between environmental cues and food are readily formed because of the tangible benefits they confer. While examples of the key role they play in shaping foraging behaviours are widespread in the animal world, the possibility that plants are also able to acquire learned associations to guide their foraging behaviour has never been demonstrated. Here we show that this type of learning occurs in the garden pea, Pisum sativum. By using a Y-maze task, we show that the position of a neutral cue, predicting the location of a light source, affected the direction of plant growth. This learned behaviour prevailed over innate phototropism. Notably, learning was successful only when it occurred during the subjective day, suggesting that behavioural performance is regulated by metabolic demands. Our results show that associative learning is an essential component of plant behaviour. We conclude that associative learning represents a universal adaptive mechanism shared by both animals and plants.

Concepts: Psychology, Plant, Animal, Pea, Fabaceae, Annual plant, Fruit, Legume


Lentil (Lens culinaris) is one of the cool season grain legume crops and an important source of dietary proteins and fibre. Fungal diseases are main constraints to lentil production and account for significant yield and quality losses. Lentil has a narrow genetic base presumably due to a bottleneck during domestication and as a result, any resistance to fungal diseases in the cultivated genepool is gradually eroded and overcome by pathogens. New sources of resistance have been identified in wild lentil (Lens ervoides). This article provides an overview of harnessing resistance potential of wild germplasm to enhance genetic resistance in lentil cultivars using next-generation sequencing-based genotyping, comparative genomics and marker-assisted selection breeding.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Genomics, Pulse, Fabaceae, Lens, Dietary fiber, Lentil


Microsatellite (simple sequence repeats, SSRs) marker is one of the most widely used markers in marker-assisted breeding. As one type of functional markers, MicroRNA-based SSR (miRNA-SSR) markers have been exploited mainly in animals, but the development and characterization of miRNA-SSR markers in plants are still limited. In the present study, miRNA-SSR markers for Medicago truncatula (M. truncatula) were developed and their cross-species transferability in six leguminous species was evaluated. A total of 169 primer pairs were successfully designed from 130 M. truncatula miRNA genes, the majority of which were mononucleotide repeats (70.41%), followed by dinucleotide repeats (14.20%), compound repeats (11.24%) and trinucleotide repeats (4.14%). Functional classification of SSR-containing miRNA genes showed that all targets could be grouped into three Gene Ontology (GO) categories: 17 in biological process, 11 in molecular function, and 14 in cellular component. The miRNA-SSR markers showed high transferability in other six leguminous species, ranged from 74.56% to 90.53%. Furthermore, 25 Mt-miRNA-SSR markers were used to evaluate polymorphisms in 20 alfalfa accessions, and the polymorphism information content (PIC) values ranged from 0.39 to 0.89 with an average of 0.71, the allele number per marker varied from 3 to 18 with an average of 7.88, indicating a high level of informativeness. The present study is the first time developed and characterized of M. truncatula miRNA-SSRs and demonstrated their utility in transferability, these novel markers will be valuable for genetic diversity analysis, marker-assisted selection and genotyping in leguminous species.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Allele, Biology, Fabaceae, Legume, Alfalfa


There is increasing interest in the use of beneficial microorganisms as alternatives to chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilisers in agricultural production. Application of beneficial microorganisms to seeds is an efficient mechanism for placement of microbial inocula into soil where they will be well positioned to colonise seedling roots and protect against soil-borne diseases and pests. However, despite the long history of inoculation of legume seeds with Rhizobia spp. and clear laboratory demonstration of the ability of a wide range of other beneficial microorganisms to improve crop performance, there are still very few commercially available microbial seed inoculants. Seed inoculation techniques used for research purposes are often not feasible at a commercial scale and there are significant technical challenges in maintaining viable microbial inocula on seed throughout commercial seed treatment processes and storage. Further research is needed before the benefits of a wide range of environmentally sensitive potential seed inoculants can be captured for use in agriculture, ecosystem restoration and bioremediation. There is no single solution to the challenge of improving the ability of seed inoculants to establish and function consistently in the field. Development of novel formulations that maintain the viability of both inoculant and seed during storage will result from multidisciplinary research in microbial and seed physiology and adjuvant chemistry.

Concepts: Agriculture, Improve, Microbiology, Chemistry, Nitrogen, Fabaceae, Seed, Legume


Legumes are the third largest family of angiosperms and the second most important crop class. Legume genomes have been shaped by extensive large-scale gene duplications, including an approximately 58 million year old whole genome duplication shared by most crop legumes.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genome, RNA, Gene duplication, Fabaceae, Legume, Bean


BACKGROUND: A diagnosis of peanut allergy has a major impact on an individual’s quality of life. Exposure to even small amounts of peanut can trigger serious reactions. Common cleaning agents can easily remove peanut allergen from surfaces such as table tops. Parents of children with peanut allergy frequently ask if peanut allergen can persist on surfaces if they have not been cleaned.Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine the persistence of peanut allergen on a typical table surface over time. METHODS: 5 mL of peanut butter was evenly smeared on a 12 inch by 12 inch (30.5 by 30.5 cm) square on a nonporous (laminated plastic) table surface. Five squares were prepared in the same manner. The table was kept in a regular hospital office at room temperature and ambient lighting. No cleaning occurred for 110 days. Samples were taken at regular intervals from different areas each time. A monoclonal-based ELISA for arachis hypogaea allergen 1 (Ara h 1), range of detection 1.95-2000 ng/mL, was used to assess peanut allergen on the table surface. RESULTS: At baseline, there was no detectable Ara h 1 allergen. Immediately post application and for 110 days of collecting, detectable Ara h 1 was found each time a sample was taken. There was no obvious allergen degradation over time. Active cleaning of the contaminated surface with a commercial cleaning wipe resulted in no detectable Ara h 1 allergen. CONCLUSIONS: Peanut allergen is very robust. Detectable Ara h 1 was present on the table surface for 110 days. Active cleaning of peanut contaminated surfaces easily removed peanut residue and allergen. Regular cleaning of surfaces before and after eating should be reinforced as a safety measure for all individuals with peanut allergy.

Concepts: Allergy, Fabaceae, Food allergy, Allergology, Peanut, Arachis, Peanut butter, Peanuts


Kidney beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), are common legumes, consumed worldwide. The delicacy of kidney beans is highly appreciable but, at the same time, their toxicity has raised an alarming concern. Kidney bean toxicity may be divided into two subcategories: toxicity caused by its lectins, saponins, phytates, and protease inhibitors or allergenicity induced by its allergenic proteins. The purpose of this review is to unravel the facts behind the different aspects of toxicity and allergenicity induced by kidney beans and try to fill the gaps that exist currently.

Concepts: Pulse, Fabaceae, Legume, Common bean, Bean, Phaseolus, Phaseoleae, Three Sisters