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The draft genomes of five agriculturally important African orphan crops

Chang, Yue; Liu, Huan; Liu, Min; Liao, Xuezhu; Sahu, Sunil Kumar; Fu, Yuan; Song, Bo; Cheng, Shifeng; Kariba, Robert; Muthemba, Samuel; Hendre, Prasad S; Mayes, Sean; Ho, Wai Kuan; Yssel, Anna E J; Kendabie, Presidor; Wang, Sibo; Li, Linzhou; Muchugi, Alice; Jamnadass, Ramni; Lu, Haorong; Peng, Shufeng; Van Deynze, Allen; Simons, Anthony; Yana-Shapiro, Howard; de Peer, Yves Van; Xu, Xun; Yang, Huanming; Wang, Jian; Liu, Xin


Yue Chang

Huan Liu

Min Liu

Xuezhu Liao

Sunil Kumar Sahu

Yuan Fu

Bo Song

Shifeng Cheng

Robert Kariba

Samuel Muthemba

Prasad S Hendre

Associate Professor

Wai Kuan Ho

Anna E J Yssel

Presidor Kendabie

Sibo Wang

Linzhou Li

Alice Muchugi

Ramni Jamnadass

Haorong Lu

Shufeng Peng

Allen Van Deynze

Anthony Simons

Howard Yana-Shapiro

Yves Van de Peer

Xun Xu

Huanming Yang

Jian Wang

Xin Liu


Background: Continuous growth of the world population is expected to double the worldwide demand for food by 2050. Eighty-eight percent of countries current face a serious burden of malnutrition, especially in Africa and South and South-East Asia. About 95% of the food energy needs of humans are fulfilled by just 30 species, of which wheat, maize and rice provide the majority of calories. Therefore, to diversify and stabilize global food supply, enhance agricultural productivity and tackle malnutrition, greater use of neglected or underutilized local plants (so-called 'orphan crops‘, but also including a few plants of special significance to agriculture, agroforestry and nutrition) could be a partial solution.
Results: Here, we present draft genome information from five agriculturally, biologically, medicinally and economically important underutilized plants native to Africa; Vigna subterranea, Lablab purpureus, Faidherbia albida, Sclerocarya birrea, and Moringa oleifera. Assembled genomes range in size from 217 to 654 Mb. In V. subterranea, L. purpureus, F. albida, S. birrea and M. oleifera we have predicted 31707, 20946, 28979, 18937, 18451 protein-coding genes, respectively. By further analysing the expansion and contraction of selected gene families, we have characterized root nodule symbiosis genes, transcription factors and starch biosynthesis-related genes in these genomes.
Conclusions: These genome data will be useful to identify and characterize agronomically important genes and understand their modes of action, enabling genomics-based, evolutionary studies, and breeding strategies to design faster, more focused and predictable crop improvement programs.


Chang, Y., Liu, H., Liu, M., Liao, X., Sahu, S. K., Fu, Y., …Liu, X. (2019). The draft genomes of five agriculturally important African orphan crops. GigaScience, 8(3), 1-16.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 1, 2018
Online Publication Date Dec 7, 2018
Publication Date Mar 31, 2019
Deposit Date Dec 10, 2018
Publicly Available Date Dec 10, 2018
Journal GigaScience
Electronic ISSN 2047-217X
Publisher Oxford University Press (OUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 3
Article Number giy152
Pages 1-16
Public URL
Publisher URL


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