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Genome. 2007 Jun;50(6):525-37.

Landmark research in legumes.

Author information

1
Department of Crop Sciences, National Soybean Research Laboratory, University of Illinois, 1101 West Peabody Drive, Urbana, IL 61801, USA. ramsingh@uiuc.edu

Abstract

Legumes are members of the family Fabaceae or Leguminosae and include economically important grain legumes, oilseed crops, forage crops, shrubs, and tropical or subtropical trees. Legumes are a rich source of quality protein for humans and animals. They also enrich the soil by producing their own nitrogen in symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. International centers and national institutes collect, maintain, distribute, and produce high-yielding legumes (grain-pulses, oilseeds, forages, nutraceuticals, medicinal shrubs, and trees). Legume breeders are confined within the primary gene pools (GP-1) in their varietal improvement programs and have not exploited secondary gene pools (GP-2), tertiary gene pools (GP-3), or quaternary gene pools (GP-4). Legumes are also an excellent source of timber, medicine, nutraceuticals, tannins, gums, insecticides, resins, varnish, paints, dyes, and eco-friendly by-products such as soy diesel. Three forage crops, Medicago truncatula, Lotus japonicus, and Trifolium pratense, are model legumes for phylogenetic studies and genome sequencing. This paper concludes that a "protein revolution" is needed to meet the protein demands of the world.

PMID:
17632574
DOI:
10.1139/g07-037
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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