Lucky Them! Scientists Sequence The Clover Genome

Australian scientists have decoded the genome of the subterranean clover, which is the most important annual pasture legume in Australia.

AsianScientist (Sep. 9, 2016) – A international team of scientists has cracked the genome sequence of the subterranean clover (T. subterraneum L.) and published their findings in the journal Scientific Reports.

Clovers are widely grown around the world as forage legumes for livestock. They also add nitrogen to the soil, which assists in crop production. Subterranean clover is the most important annual pasture legume in Australia, sown across an estimated 29 million hectares of agricultural land.

The research, led by researchers at the University of Western Australia (UWA), in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Food, Murdoch University, and the Kazusa DNA Research Institute in Japan, is the first genome sequence published for an annual clover. It describes 85.4 percent of the sub clover genome and contains 42,706 genes.

UWA molecular biologist Dr. Parwinder Kaur said the challenge was not only to determine the sequence of sub clover DNA but to understand the genes from a functional point of view. This research will potentially help the development of new and improved forage legumes, which underpin the Australia’s AU$1.8 billion (~US$1.37 billion) livestock industry, he said.

“This work will allow the development of DNA markers that are closely associated with genes controlling traits of interest, which can be used in breeding programs to markedly improve selection efficiency, particularly for traits difficult to measure in the field or glasshouse,” said UWA Adjunct Associate Professor Phil Nichols, a co-author on the study.

The article can be found at: Hirakawa et al. (2016) Draft Genome Sequence of Subterranean Clover, a Reference for Genus Trifolium.


Source: University of Western Australia; Photo: Pixabay.
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