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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Solanaceae - a Model for Linking Genomics with Biodiversity

Authors
item Knapp, Sandra - NAT'L HISTORY MUSEUM, UK
item Bohs, Lynn - UNIV OF UTAH, SALT LAKE
item Nee, Michael - NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN
item Spooner, David

Submitted to: Comparative and Functional Genomics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2004
Publication Date: November 15, 2004
Citation: Knapp, S., Bohs, L., Nee, M., Spooner, D.M. 2004. Solanaceae - a model for linking genomics with biodiversity. Comparative and Functional Genomics. 5:285-291.

Interpretive Summary: The Solanaceae is the plant family that includes tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers, and is one of the economically most important plant families on earth. This economic importance, and recent progress molecular biology, has propelled the Solanaceae to the forefront of scientific importance in many scientific fields. These include taxonomy (understanding species boundaries and their interrelationships), and comparative genomics (the study of genetics by comparisons with other "model organisms that are well studied, such as rice and Arabidopsis). An understanding of taxonomy of the Solanaceae makes this an ideal time to link taxonomic data with plant genomics. While taxonomy provides the framework to make the linkage to genomics, this is hindered by the need for more taxonomic research, most notably a global treatment of the species in the family, including up-to-date species descriptions and phylogeny studies. This need is now addressed by a newly-funded National Science Foundation (NSF) grant devoted to species level descriptions of the genus Solanum, the largest genus in the Solanaceae. This paper reviews the progress on phylogeny (the study of the interrelationships of organisms) in the Solanaceae, and places this review in the context of this NSF grant, entitled 'PBI (Planetary Biodiversity Inventories): Solanum - a worldwide treatment'. The aims of this project are to provide species level information across the global scope of the genus Solanum and to make this available over the Internet. For the first time, we have the opportunity of linking valid, up-to-date taxonomic information about wild species of Solanum with the genomic information being generated about the economically important species of the genus Solanum. The phylogenetic framework in which the PBI project is set is also of enormous potential benefit to all workers in Solanum.

Technical Abstract: Recent progress in understanding the phylogeny of the economically important plant family Solanaceae makes this an ideal time to develop models for linking the new data on plant genomics with the huge diversity of naturally occurring species in the family. Phylogenetics provides the framework with which to investigate these linkages, but critically missing currently are good species level descriptive resources for the Solanaceae community. We will review progress on phylogeny in the family as a whole, and then specifically focus on the new NSF Planetary Biodiversity Inventories project 'PBI: Solanum - a worldwide treatment'. The aims of this project are to provide species level information across the global scope of the genus Solanum and to make this available over the Internet. The project is in its infancy, but will make available nomenclatural information, descriptions, keys and illustrative material for all approximately 1500 species of Solanum. For the first time, we have the opportunity of linking valid, up-to-date taxonomic information about wild species of Solanum with the genomic information being generated about the economically important species of the genus (potato, tomato and eggplant). The phylogenetic framework in which the PBI project is set is also of enormous potential benefit to other workers in Solanum. We will explore the potential linkages, and will hope to stimulate discussion on how these can best integrate the genomics and taxonomic communities for better understanding of this important family.

Last Modified: 9/20/2014
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