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Recent advances in cowpea [<i>Vigna unguiculata</i> (L.) Walp.] “omics” research for genetic improvement

D Diouf


After decades of research on cowpea, significant amount of omics datasets are available and useful in understanding the genetic relationship between Vigna unguiculata ssp. unguiculata and other species belonging to the same genus as well as its genetic variation. Besides, the development of genetic map allowed the chromosome localization of molecular markers associated with disease resistance, seed weight, dehydrin, drought-induced genes, maturity and earliness, and the recent progresses made on cowpea genomic resources development and the availability of a genetic transformation protocol increased the chance to identify more genes and to study their expression. In addition, transcriptomic datasets suggested that many genes are expressed during drought, heating or in nitrogen deficiency conditions as well as during symbiosis and iron storage. Proteomic and metabolomic analyses revealed that the protein and metabolite fractions specifically accumulated in the embryogenic cell suspension and in manganese toxicity conditions, respectively. However, the integration of all these information will promote the improvement of cowpea production.

Key words: Vigna unguiculata ssp. unguiculata, cowpea, genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomic.