Genomic resources developed in the model legume, Medicago truncatula, have the potential to accelerate practical advances in crop legumes. M. truncatula is closely related to many economically important legumes, frequently displaying genome-scale synteny. Translating genome data from M. truncatula should be highly effective in marker development, gene discovery, and positional cloning in crop legumes. The M. truncatula genome sequence also provides valuable insights about gene families of practical importance, especially those that are legume-specific. The M. truncatula genome sequence should also simplify the assembly of next-generation sequence data in closely related taxa, especially alfalfa. Genomic resources, such as whole-genome arrays, make it possible to pursue detailed questions about gene expression in both M. truncatula and related crop species, while tagged mutant populations simplify the process of determining gene function.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Rick Dixon, Lloyd Sumner, and Steven Cannon for helpful discussions regarding the manuscript. We regret that it was not possible to cite the works of many additional scientists who contributed to this field as a result of space limitations. This work was supported, in part, by NSF grant DBI-0606966 to NY and NSF grant DBI-0703285 and USDA CSREES-NRI grant 2006-35300-17143 to MU.
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