HR Excellence in Science
Date: 04.09.2019

Czech scientists helped to “read” the genome of pea

International team including the scientist from Czech Republic has assembled – after six years of research – the first complete genome of field pea. The results has been published on 2nd September in the prestigious journal Nature Genetics.

Pea is an important plant-based protein source for human and animals. The assembling of its complete genome was, therefore, a goal of the international team of scientists, lead by French National Institute for Agricultural Research in Dijon. The members of the team were also the scientists from Institute of Experimental Botany CAS – Center of the Regione Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research, and Institute of Plant Molecular Biology – Biology Centre CAS.

Scientists from Institute of Experimental Botany improved quality of the assembled text by using two unique methods – optical mapping of genome and chromosome sorting. The last one was developed in laboratory of Institute of Experimental Botany and it is, at the same time, the only laboratory worldwide which is using this method routinely. The scientist from Biology Centre employed a combination of biochemical methods and newly developed computational tools to elucidate sequence composition of centromeres, the chromosome regions that are responsible for faithful segregation of genetic material during cell division. Using fluorescent labeling of specific sequences on whole chromosomes, they helped to arrange long segments of assembled genetic code into proper order and orientation. They were also involved in analyzing repetitive sequences. “These sequences make up most of the pea genome and their position may affect expression of many agronomically important genes”, explains Jiří Macas from Biology Centre.

The results of research not only provide insight on how the genome of pea has been changing during 50 million years of its evolution but also can be used to produce new, improved pea cultivars.

Chromosomes of pea (blue) with fluorescent markers (pink, green) developed by the scientists from Biology Centre.

Publication: Jonathan Kreplak et al. 2019. A reference genome for pea provides insight into legume genome evolution. Nature Genetics 51: 1411-1422; doi: 10.1038/s41588-019-0480-1

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