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Progress, challenges and the future of crop genomes

Michael, Todd P, VanBuren, Robert
Current opinion in plant biology 2015 v.24 pp. 71-81
agronomic traits, breeding, crops, evolution, genetic markers, genome, genomics, germplasm, nucleotide sequences, phenotype, polyploidy, wild relatives
The availability of plant reference genomes has ushered in a new era of crop genomics. More than 100 plant genomes have been sequenced since 2000, 63% of which are crop species. These genome sequences provide insight into architecture, evolution and novel aspects of crop genomes such as the retention of key agronomic traits after whole genome duplication events. Some crops have very large, polyploid, repeat-rich genomes, which require innovative strategies for sequencing, assembly and analysis. Even low quality reference genomes have the potential to improve crop germplasm through genome-wide molecular markers, which decrease expensive phenotyping and breeding cycles. The next stage of plant genomics will require draft genome refinement, building resources for crop wild relatives, resequencing broad diversity panels, and plant ENCODE projects to better understand the complexities of these highly diverse genomes.