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Development of genetic and genomic resources for improving seed quality traits in faba bean

Samson Ugwuanyi

Associated student, JLU

My research focuses on unravelling the genetic basis of vicine and convicine contents in faba bean (Vicia faba L.), a globally important annual grain legume known for its highly nutritious seeds. Faba bean serves as a significant source of food and feed for both humans and animals. However, the presence of antinutrients, vicine-convicine (v-c), limits its agronomic relevance and poses health risks. These compounds can induce oxidative stress on red blood cells, resulting in favism, a condition affecting approximately 400 million people worldwide. To ensure the safety of faba bean for human consumption and optimize its use in animal feed, it is crucial to reduce or eliminate these compounds. Recent studies have identified the gene VC1 as a key regulator in the v-c biosynthetic pathway. However, the impact of structural variations, such as copy number variations and InDels, in VC1 genes remains poorly understood. Therefore, my research aims to elucidate the genetic mechanisms underlying v-c contents in faba bean. This will pave the way for improved breeding strategies and the development of faba bean varieties with no/reduced vicine-convicine. The specific objectives include: 1) dissecting the structural variations in VC1 genes; 2) identifying functional polymorphisms that are associated with variations in v-c phenotype; 3) developing reliable KASP markers to efficiently select lines with desired v-c phenotype, and 4) utilizing the markers to develop low v-c lines through marker-assisted backcrossing.

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