The leader of the lupin genome sequencing project, senior CSIRO Plant Industry scientist, Dr Karam Singh. (CSIRO)

An Australian first for lupin genome project

Reference: 10/156

As part of the first major plant genome sequencing project managed in Australia, CSIRO researchers will soon start sequencing the narrow leaf lupin genome.

  • 7 December 2010

Being conducted in collaboration with the Centre for Food and Genomic Medicine (CFGM) in Perth, WA, the three-year, $1.5 million project will enable researchers and breeders to accelerate lupin crop improvements such as drought tolerance, disease resistance and optimal flowering time.

The research team will build upon established resources and employ powerful next-generation sequencing technologies and innovative bioinformatics techniques in their efforts to sequence the genome.

Lupins, members of the legume family, are a valuable winter rotation crop that farmers can use to prevent diseases surviving from season to season in cereal crops such as wheat. They have the added benefit of fixing nitrogen in the soil.

Lupins are also a good source of protein and dietary fibre.

Lupins are also a good source of protein and dietary fibre and CSIRO scientists have already identified genes in lupins which produce proteins that impact on the nutritional content of the grain.

Studies conducted by the CFGM have shown these proteins have important wide ranging benefits for humans and may provide cardiovascular health benefits in terms of increasing insulin sensitivity and reducing blood pressure. The proteins could potentially reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity by increasing a person's sensitivity to insulin and creating the sensation of being 'full'. 

Responsibility for overseeing the research project was awarded to the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research-based CFGM by the Grains Research and Development Corporation following a competitive national tender process.

The CFGM team will interact with national and international collaborators in China, Europe, Japan and the USA with sequencing and bioinformatic expertise to help gain and analyse the sequence data. The majority of the project will be conducted at the new CSIRO/University of Western Australia joint Crop Genomics laboratory at Floreat, in Perth WA and will be led by Prof Karam Singh (CSIRO/UWA).

The project’s results will be published online for public access benefiting lupin researchers, lupin breeders and the broader community.

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