Globally, pea (Pisum sativum L.) is an important temperate legume crop for food, feed and fodder, and many breeding programs develop cultivars adapted to these end-uses. In order to assist pea development efforts, we assembled the USDA Pea Single Plant Plus Collection (PSPPC), which contains 431 P. sativum accessions with morphological, geographic and taxonomic diversity. The collection was characterized genetically in order to maximize its value for trait mapping and genomics-assisted breeding. To that end, we used genotyping-by-sequencing—a cost-effective method for de novo single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) marker discovery—to generate 66 591 high-quality SNPs. These data facilitated the identification of accessions divergent from mainstream breeding germplasm that could serve as sources of novel, favorable alleles. In particular, a group of accessions from Central Asia appear nearly as diverse as a sister species, P. fulvum, and subspecies, P. sativum subsp. elatius. PSPPC genotypes can be paired with new and existing phenotype data for trait mapping; as proof-of-concept, we localized Mendel’s A gene controlling flower color to its known position. We also used SNP data to define a smaller core collection of 108 accessions with similar levels of genetic diversity as the entire PSPPC, resulting in a smaller germplasm set for research screening and evaluation under limited resources. Taken together, the results presented in this study along with the release of a publicly available SNP data set comprise a valuable resource for supporting worldwide pea genetic improvement efforts.
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