The Pea genome sequencing project
Pea is a cool-season legume crop adapted to temperate regions of the world. World dry pea production amounted to 11,2 Mt in 2012 (FAO Stat). As other grain legumes, pea (Pisum sativum L.) is able to fix atmospheric nitrogen through symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria from the Rhizobium genus and its cultivation reduces N-fertilizer use and energy costs in agriculture. Pea also produces protein-rich seeds that are used complementary to cereals for animal and human nutrition.
The pea genome represents a real challenge to genome sequencing. The pea genome is large (ca 4.5 Gb), probably resulting from recent expansion of retrotransposons followed by sequence diversification. The complexity of the genome has held back progress in the development of genomic resources for the species.
The Pea Genome Project undertakes several complementary strategies in order to produce a high-quality draft sequence of the species. The France Genomique project leads the genome sequencing, assembly and annotation. It is associated through the Pea Genome International Consortium to partners from the Czech Republic, USA, Canada and Australia that add complementary resources to the project.
The availability of the pea genome sequence will considerably improve the efficiency of gene cloning, marker-assisted selection and genomic selection in this species and the improvement of important multifactorial and quantitative agronomic characters such as disease resistance and stability of seed yield and composition.