A high-quality chromosome-scale assembly of the faba bean genome is presented in Nature this week, representing a new resource to aid the improvement of an agriculturally important plant. The faba bean, also known as the fava bean or broad bean, was domesticated more than 10,000 years ago and is now widely cultivated due to its broad adaptability, value as a restorative crop in rotations, and high nutritional density. Still, genomic resources for the plant are scarce. To fill this gap, scientists from the University of Reading, Aarhus University, and the University of Helsinki sequenced the faba bean genome, revealing that it has expanded to a massive 13 Gb in size through an imbalance between the rates of amplification and elimination of retrotransposons and satellite repeats. The research team also describes the development of a targeted genotyping assay and use of high-resolution genome-wide association analysis to uncover the genetic basis of the plant's seed size and hilum color. These tools, the scientists write, may help accelerate faba bean improvement efforts.
Faba Bean Genome Assembly Published
Mar 09, 2023