Brassica juncea (AABB) is an allotetraploid species containing genomes of B. rapa (AA) and B. nigra (BB). It is a major oilseed crop in South Asia, and grown on approximately 6–7 million hectares of land in India during the winter season under dryland conditions. B. juncea has two well defined gene pools – Indian and east European. Hybrids between the two gene pools are heterotic for yield. A large number of qualitative and quantitative traits need to be introgressed from one gene pool into the other. This study explores the availability of SNPs in RNA-seq generated contigs, and their use for general mapping, fine mapping of selected regions, and comparative arrangement of gene blocks on B. juncea A and B genomes.
RNA isolated from two lines of B. juncea – Varuna (Indian type) and Heera (east European type) – was sequenced using Illumina paired end sequencing technology, and assembled using the Velvet de novo programme. A and B genome specific contigs were identified in two steps. First, by aligning contigs against the B. rapa protein database (available at BRAD), and second by comparing percentage identity at the nucleotide level with B. rapa CDS and B. nigra transcriptome. 135,693 SNPs were recorded in the assembled partial gene models of Varuna and Heera, 85,473 in the A genome and 50,236 in the B. Using KASpar technology, 999 markers were added to an earlier intron polymorphism marker based map of a B. juncea Varuna x Heera DH population. Many new gene blocks were identified in the B genome. A number of SNP markers covered single copy homoeologues of the A and B genomes, and these were used to identify homoeologous blocks between the two genomes. Comparison of the block architecture of A and B genomes revealed extensive differences in gene block associations and block fragmentation patterns.
Sufficient SNP markers are available for general and specific -region fine mapping of crosses between lines of two diverse B. juncea gene pools. Comparative gene block arrangement and block fragmentation patterns between A and B genomes support the hypothesis that the two genomes evolved from independent hexaploidy events.