About this Research Topic
Crops play an important role in agriculture and human health. The convergence of increasing population growth and water scarcity, and global warming due to climate change, are expected to pose a colossal threat to global agricultural food security. As an estimate, food production needs to be increased by 70% to feed the burgeoning population of approximately 9 billion by 2050. To stabilize and sustain agricultural productivity and sustainability, the development of genetically tailored superior high-yielding stress resistant/tolerant (climate resilient) crop plants with enhanced nutritional values is highly desirable.
However, most of the traits targeted for crop improvement are complex and quantitative in nature, and are multiplicatively governed by many major and minor genes/QTLs (quantitative trait loci), which ultimately limit crop improvement programs.
Translational genomics, the transfer of the language of genomics into practical applications, utilizes an ever-increasing amount of genomic information to make plant breeding programs easier, more effective, more efficient, and more accurate than before. The intervention of conventional and modern next-generation sequencing-based structural, functional and comparative genomics approaches, such as association mapping, QTL mapping, genetical genomics (eQTL), associative transcriptomics, elite variety tag single nucleotide polymorphism alleles (ETASs) and whole genome scans for selective sweep/domestication, offers unprecedented opportunities to rapidly identify functionally relevant novel trait-specific major/minor genes (QTL) and rare alleles for precise quantitative dissection of complex traits in crop plants. The introgression of the functionally superior trait-specific genes/QTLs and natural allelic variants into diverse genotypes for their genetic enhancement is now possible by the use of various genomics-assisted breeding approaches, including marker-assisted selection (MAS), multi-parent advanced generation inter-cross (MAGIC), marker-assisted recurrent selection (MARS) and genomic/haplotype selection. In conjunction, various gene manipulation technologies, such as over-expression, knockdown RNA interference (RNAi), ZFNs (Zinc-finger nucleases), TALENs (transcription activator-like effector nucleases) and CRISPR/Cas (Clustered Regulatory Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats/CRISPR-associated), have also been shown to efficiently complement the introgression of trait-regulatory genes/alleles for genetic improvement of plants. All these technological advances have provided tremendous opportunities and flexibility to researchers for adopting and integrating diverse genomics-assisted breeding and genetic engineering strategies to expedite translational genomics towards plant genetic enhancement.
The present Research Topic intends to cover various aspects of translational genomics (genomics-assisted breeding and transgenics) practiced in the next-generation genome-sequencing era with the objective of quickly deciphering the complex genetic architecture of quantitative traits and genetic improvement of crop plants for sustaining world’s food security. Articles in the form of original research, methods/protocols/technologies, review/mini-review, perspective, opinion, and commentary are encouraged to be submitted under this Research Topic.
Research manuscripts should demonstrate the translational aspect of candidate gene(s)/QTL(s) in native crop species, using either genomics-assisted breeding or transgenic approaches. Manuscript merely describing the use of next-generation genome-sequencing platforms for identification of members of gene families and gene expression analyses; identification and utilization of DNA polymorphisms (SNPs, SSRs, Indels, or any other marker type) for association mapping and construction of new/improved/high-density linkage maps; or comparison of transcriptomic data in two different plant and tissue types will be not encouraged. The functional analysis of candidate gene(s) in a heterologous plant species (e.g. model plant Arabidopsis thaliana) is also not expected.
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