Identification of genes regulating traits targeted for domestication of field cress (Lepidium campestre) as a biennial and perennial oilseed crop

Cecilia Gustafsson, Jakob Willforss, Fernando Lopes-Pinto, Rodomiro Ortiz, Mulatu Geleta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The changing climate and the desire to use renewable oil sources necessitate the development of new oilseed crops. Field cress (Lepidium campestre) is a species in the Brassicaceae family that has been targeted for domestication not only as an oilseed crop that produces seeds with a desirable industrial oil quality but also as a cover/catch crop that provides valuable ecosystem services. Lepidium is closely related to Arabidopsis and display significant proportions of syntenic regions in their genomes. Arabidopsis genes are among the most characterized genes in the plant kingdom and, hence, comparative genomics of Lepidium-Arabidopsis would facilitate the identification of Lepidium candidate genes regulating various desirable traits.

Homologues of 30 genes known to regulate vernalization, flowering time, pod shattering, oil content and quality in Arabidopsis were identified and partially characterized in Lepidium. Alignments of sequences representing field cress and two of its closely related perennial relatives: L. heterophyllum and L. hirtum revealed 243 polymorphic sites across the partial sequences of the 30 genes, of which 95 were within the predicted coding regions and 40 led to a change in amino acids of the target proteins. Within field cress, 34 polymorphic sites including nine non-synonymous substitutions were identified. The phylogenetic analysis of the data revealed that field cress is more closely related to L. heterophyllum than to L. hirtum.

There is significant variation within and among Lepidium species within partial sequences of the 30 genes known to regulate traits targeted in the present study. The variation within these genes are potentially useful to speed-up the process of domesticating field cress as future oil crop. The phylogenetic relationship between the Lepidium species revealed in this study does not only shed some light on Lepidium genome evolution but also provides important information to develop efficient schemes for interspecific hybridization between different Lepidium species as part of the domestication efforts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number36
Number of pages15
JournalBMC Genetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • domestication
  • field cress
  • lepidium campestre
  • pod shattering
  • vernalization


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