New genomic resource to investigate the diversity of lettuce germplasm

For the first time, the single primer enrichment technology (SPET) – a novel high-throughput genotyping method – was used in lettuce to study the genetic diversity of a collection of 160 Lactuca accessions originating from 10 countries in Europe, America, and Asia, and to identify genomic regions that underpin important agronomic traits.

In recent years, technologies to investigate the genomic diversity of crops have made extraordinary progress, and novel methodologies such as single primer enrichment technology (SPET) offer promising and cost-effective opportunities. SPET has so far been used in several crop plants, such as in maize, poplar, oil palm, tomato, eggplant, and peach, showing its power for genotyping germplasm collections and crossing populations.

SPET was used in lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) for the first time by a consortium of European researchers in the context of the European Evaluation Network (EVA) of the European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources (ECPGR), with the aim to study its genetic diversity and identify genomic regions that underpin important agronomic traits. Lettuce is a commercially important crop, widely appreciated by consumers for its fiber content and low calories. It is also a good source of vitamin C, iron, folate, and different health-beneficial nutrients.

“Given the lack of cost-effective options for genotyping in lettuce, the EVA Network decided to design a SPET panel for this crop, together with IGATech, and applied it to a collection of 155 accessions of Lactuca sativa and 5 of the closely related wild species Lactuca serriola,” said Pasquale Tripodi, lead author of the study and Senior Researcher at CREA, Italy.


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