A reference genome for pea provides insight into legume genome evolution (Nature Genetics)

Pea (Pisum sativum) is an important protein-rich crop that introduces most students to the principles of Mendelian genetics, but it has lagged behind in the genomics era due to its much larger genome size than newer model legumes. Kreplak et al.  have now released an annotated chromosome-level reference genome assembly for pea. The authors note that the transposon-rich pea genome “has been subject to a higher rate of transposon-mediated unequal recombination giving rise to gain or loss of genes, or ectopic double-strand break repair.” This work provides insights into the evolution of pea and other legumes. The authors reconstruct a paleohistory of modern legumes, explore the genetic relationship of pea varieties, and investigate genes encoding the nutritionally important seed storage proteins, making this a useful resource for breeders. (Summary by Mary Williams) Nature Genetics 10.1038/s41588-019-0480-1