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

Landmark research in legumes.

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


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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