Biotech Updates

Scientists Sequence Red Clover Genome

December 2, 2015

The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) in collaboration with the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences of Aberystwyth University, has sequenced and assembled the genome of red clover, a protein-rich livestock feed, known to boost the omega-3 fatty acids in ruminant milk.

Red clover only grows well for two or three seasons and does not recover well from livestock grazing. It also does not lend itself easily to traditional crop breeding practices, with severe loss of vigor and fertility if inbred. The project at TGAC and IBERS aims to use a collection of diverse natural lines of red clover for breeding new elite varieties more tolerant to grazing, and to understand the domestication process that led to the adoption of red clover as a crop.

Jose de Vega, researcher at TGAC and lead author of the study said, "The publication of the red clover reference genome is an important milestone, as it represents the first genome sequence of the clover forage crops. The availability of the genome assembly will pave the way towards genomics-assisted breeding methods for forage legumes, and provide a platform for deeper understanding of the genetics of forage crop domestication."

For more details, read the news release at the TGAC website.