Title : Legume genetics and genomics to shape a sustainable future
The last decade has witnessed dramatic changes in global food consumption patterns mainly because of population growth and economic development. To meet erratic consumer demand in a rapidly changing world where resources become increasingly scarce due largely to anthropogenic activity, the need to develop crops that benefit both human health and the environment has become urgent. Legumes are often considered to be affordable plant-based sources of dietary proteins. Growing legumes provides significant benefits to cropping systems and the environment because of their natural ability to perform symbiotic nitrogen fixation, which enhances both soil fertility and water-use efficiency. In comparison to cereals, for which a broad range of genetic and genomic resources is available, genomic databases for legumes generally remain underdeveloped. Extensive genome analyses have hitherto been undertaken on only a few important legumes; pre-eminently the model legumes barrel medic and soybean. Nonetheless, recent studies on some promising underutilized legumes such as winged bean and lablab have shed light on the genetic basis underlying the growth and development of these species. In view of the scattered literature on the advances in legume genetics and genomics, this paper provides a systematic review on the topic and synthesize plausible strategies for the development and utilization of legumes towards strengthening the resilience of the Earth system to climate and anthropogenic changes.