Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Map Vegetable Family Tree

July 10, 2019

A team of scientists from different institutions led by the University of Missouri has mapped the genetic family of three vegetables — canola, rutabaga, and Siberian kale — to identify the genes selected for by early farmers.

To identify the genes that were selected during domestication, J. Chris Pires, a professor of biological sciences with the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center at the University of Missouri and his colleagues sequenced the nuclear and chloroplast genomes from 183 accessions of Brassica napus, including representatives from all morphotypes, as well as 174 accessions of potential progenitors. The team identified over 370,000 small variations in the genetic code, which they used to determine how the diverse accessions are related to one other as well as to B. rapa and B. oleracea.

The resulting family tree shows that rutabaga, canola, and Siberian kale do not have separate origins. It also shows that all B. napus accessions are sister to all morphotypes of B. oleracea and all morphotypes of B. rapa, the proposed progenitors, which suggests that B. napus comes from either an early form or an extinct ancestor. They also found a lot of genome mixing among rutabaga, canola, and Siberian kale as well as with the presumed parental species.

For more details, read the news article in the University of Missouri website.