Sugar beet (Beta vulgaris sp. vulgaris) crops account for about 30% of world sugar. Sugar yield is compromised by reproductive growth hence crops must remain vegetative until harvest. There is no sugar beet reference genome, or public expression array platforms. RNA-Seq has now enabled the generation of the first reference transcriptome for sugar beet and the study of global transcriptional responses in the shoot apex to vernalization and GA treatment, without the need for a reference genome or established array platforms. Comprehensive bioinformatic analysis identified transcriptional programmes associated with different sugar beet genotypes as well as biological treatments; thus providing important new opportunities for basic scientists and sugar beet breeders. Transcriptome-scale identification of agronomically important traits as used in this study should be widely applicable to all crop plants where genomic resources are limiting.
Mutasa-Gottgens ES, Joshi A, Holmes HF, Hedden P, Gottgens B. (2012) A new RNASeq-based reference transcriptome for sugar beet and its application in transcriptome-scale analysis of vernalization and gibberellin responses. BMC Genomics [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]