Landmark research in legumes

R. J. Singh, G. H. Chung, R. L. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


Legumes are members of the family Fabaceae or Leguminosae and include economically important grain legumes, oilseed crops, forage crops, shrubs, and tropical or subtropical trees. Legumes are a rich source of quality protein for humans and animals. They also enrich the soil by producing their own nitrogen in symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. International centers and national institutes collect, maintain, distribute, and produce high-yielding legumes (grain-pulses, oilseeds, forages, nutraceuticals, medicinal shrubs, and trees). Legume breeders are confined within the primary gene pools (GP-1) in their varietal improvement programs and have not exploited secondary gene pools (GP-2), tertiary gene pools (GP-3), or quaternary gene pools (GP-4). Legumes are also an excellent source of timber, medicine, nutraceuticals, tannins, gums, insecticides, resins, varnish, paints, dyes, and eco-friendly by-products such as soy diesel. Three forage crops, Medicago truncatula, Lotus japonicus, and Trifolium pratense, are model legumes for phylogenetic studies and genome sequencing. This paper concludes that a "protein revolution" is needed to meet the protein demands of the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-537
Number of pages13
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Fabaceae
  • Forage legumes
  • Gene pools
  • Genome sequencing
  • Grain legumes
  • Groundnut
  • Protein revolution
  • Pulse crops
  • Soybean

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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