Bringing Neglected Food Crops into the Genomics Era
Finger millet, Eleusine coracana subsp. coracana, is an important food crop in East Africa. The crop was domesticated from the wild species E. coraccana subsp. africana. E. coracana is an allotetraploid with genome composition AABB. The A genome was contributed by the diploid species E. indica while the B genome donor is unknown. Very little is known about the genetics of finger millet. A project was initiated to analyze the diversity of finger millet germplasm using genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS). The study focuses on cultivated finger millet germplasm from Africa, but also includes accessions from India, the willd species E. coracana subsp. africana and E. indica. The single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) mined from the GBS tags will be used to study the population structure of finger millet, and to investigate marker-trait associations.
The finger millet genome is being sequenced by the African Orphan Crops Consortium. The Devos Lab is contributing to the sequencing effort by developing a GBS-based genetic map that will be used to anchor the sequence scaffolds. The Devos lab will also participate in the analysis of the finger millet genome sequence. We are specifically interested in the overall structure and organization of the finger millet genome, and its relationship to the genomes of other grass species.
Masresha Fetene (PI) - Dept. of Biology, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia