The genetics of raffinose family oligosaccharides content and introgression in seeds

2013 to 2016

The lentil is a good source of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for human consumption. Through the increasing demand of nutrition sources for populations in developing nations, the carbohydrate composition of lentil has been recognized as a good nutritional food source. However, along with the amount of soluble carbohydrate found in the lentil, also present are sucrose and raffinose family oligosaccharides (RFOs) which is indigestible for humans due to the lack of ɑ-galactosidase to break down the linkage of side chain. Because of this, RFOs are frequently regarded as being anti-nutritional and, due to the high content of RFOs in pulse crops, people will limit their consumption of these crops. This makes reducing RFO levels in crop species to be an important breeding goal. 

Different methods of removing or reducing the levels of RFOs in lentils – such as: soaking, cooking, germinating, or fermenting the seeds prior to consumption – can be either expensive or time consuming, which would then increase production costs and decrease the use of lentils in the human diet. An alternate strategy would be to attempt at developing varieties of lentil with lower RFOs through breeding with some of the wild lentil relatives. The lentil wild relative L. ervoides was found to have nearly half the RFO concentration of the cultivated varietiesand may be an ideal genetic resource for genetic study of RFOs content in lentil.

The purposes of this study are to identify the genomic loci controlling the trait of lower RFO levels from wild relative donors, and to establish the genetic approach of fixing this trait from wild lentil species for breeding. This study will include an identification of the introgression from L. ervoides to L. culinaris, and will map the QTLs associated with seed RFOs content using two L.e. * L.c. RIL populations, while also estimating the QTL and environmental interaction on the RFOs in the seeds.

Research Area
Breeding & Genetics

Plant breeding is the art and science of changing the traits of plants in order to produce desired characteristics. Plant breeding can be accomplished through many different techniques ranging from simply selecting plants with desirable characteristics for propagation, to more complex molecular techniques. ... [more]

Related Species

Lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) is an important pulse crop with annual production of 3-4 Mt across 70 countries (Cubero et al. 2009. DOI 10.1079/9781845934873.0000; pg. 13). Lentils are a good source of protein, carbohydrates, micronutrients and vitamins for human nutrition and is consumed in more than 120 countries. Furthermore, their small seed size and flat shape make them relatively quick cooking and easily decorticated compared to most other grain legumes (Sharpe et al. 2013. BMC Genomics. DOI 10.1186/1471-2164-14-192). The Lentil plant has a bushy growth habit with a height of about 40 cm; the seeds are lens-shaped and usually grow two per pod. ... [more]


Lens ervoides is a wild relative of Lens culinaris with semi-hastate or lanceolate stipules. L. ervoides can be distinguished from other wild Lentil species by its smaller leaves, calyx teath, pods and seeds1. L. ervoides is often found in shady or partially shady niches, such as among bushes or under trees, with stony soils1. Unlike other wild lentil species, L. ervoides is rarely found in mixed stands with other wild lentils1. Recent sequence analysis indicates that Lens ervoides is in the tertiary gene pool of L. culinaris2 ... [more]

Sequences, Variants & Markers