Vigna genome research
The genus Vigna includes many cultivated species such as cowpea and mungbean that are important protein sources in Africa and Asia. There are also many wild species that are well adapted to severe environmental conditions such as saline, arid, acidic or alkaline soils and therefore could be important genetic resources that could be used for cultivar improvement. The Vigna Genome Project aims to elucidate the genome structure and function of 16 species including both cultivated and wild species. This project includes sequencing of the entire genome as well as the chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes.
The first target for genome sequencing is azuki bean (Vigna angularis), an important traditional grain legume in East Asia. It is cultivated in Japan, Korea and northern and central China extending to the Himalayan foothills of Bhutan, India and Nepal. In Japan, azuki bean is a main ingredient of many traditional dishes.