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Lupin Genome Project to Drive Crop Improvements

07 December 2010

AUSTRALIA - Researchers will soon start sequencing the narrow leaf lupin genome as part of the first plant genome sequencing project managed in Australia.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in collaboration with the Centre for Food and Genomic Medicine (CFGM) in Perth, Western Australia, are conducting the three-year, $1.5 million project that will enable researchers and breeders to accelerate lupin crop improvements such as drought tolerance, disease resistance and optimal flowering time.

The research team will build upon established resources and employ powerful next-generation sequencing technologies and innovative bioinformatics techniques in their efforts to sequence the genome.

Lupins, members of the legume family, are a valuable winter rotation crop growers use to prevent diseases surviving from season to season in cereal crops such as wheat. They have the added benefit of fixing nitrogen in the soil.

Lupins provide a disease break for cereal farmers and may have human health benefits too.
Lupins are also a good source of protein and dietary fibre and CSIRO scientists have already identified genes in lupins which produce proteins that impact the nutritional content of the grain.

Studies conducted by the CFGM have shown these proteins have important wide ranging benefits for humans and may provide cardiovascular health benefits in terms of increasing insulin sensitivity and reducing blood pressure.

The CFGM team will interact with collaborators in China, Europe, Japan and the USA with sequencing and bioinformatic expertise to help gain and analyse the sequence data.

TheCropSite News Desk

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