Natural variations and genome-wide association studies in crop plants

Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2014:65:531-51. doi: 10.1146/annurev-arplant-050213-035715. Epub 2013 Nov 20.


Natural variants of crops are generated from wild progenitor plants under both natural and human selection. Diverse crops that are able to adapt to various environmental conditions are valuable resources for crop improvements to meet the food demands of the increasing human population. With the completion of reference genome sequences, the advent of high-throughput sequencing technology now enables rapid and accurate resequencing of a large number of crop genomes to detect the genetic basis of phenotypic variations in crops. Comprehensive maps of genome variations facilitate genome-wide association studies of complex traits and functional investigations of evolutionary changes in crops. These advances will greatly accelerate studies on crop designs via genomics-assisted breeding. Here, we first discuss crop genome studies and describe the development of sequencing-based genotyping and genome-wide association studies in crops. We then review sequencing-based crop domestication studies and offer a perspective on genomics-driven crop designs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Crops, Agricultural / genetics*
  • Genome, Plant*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study / methods*
  • Genotype
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / methods
  • Humans
  • Plants / genetics*