EVOGENE Extra Seminar - Functional genomics and the saponin pathway in Medicago truncatula
Ornella Calderini, Institute of Biosciences and Bioresources (IBBR), National Research Council (CNR), Perugia, Italy
Legumes are a major source of proteins at the global level and they play a vital role in ensuring nutritional food security and improving soil quality through nitrogen fixation. Because crop and pasture legumes are generally poor model systems for genetic and genomic research, Medicago truncatula was chosen as one of the main model species. M. truncatula has a diploid genome (2n = 16), which is relatively small (~375 Mbp), its improved sequence is available and annotated, a re-sequencing approach is ongoing which proved efficient in gene discovery via GWAS analysis. At CNR IBBR, Italy, we have developed mutant collections for M. truncatula based on transposon tagging and EMS mutagenesis. By forward and reverse genetic screenings we have addressed the genetic control of a major biochemical pathway controlling saponin synthesis, being saponins a mixture of triterpenic glicosydes with a broad spectrum of biological properties.