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The Emerging Oilseed Crop Sesamum indicum Enters the “Omics” Era

Komivi Dossa1,2,3*, Diaga Diouf2*, Linhai Wang3, Xin Wei3, Yanxin Zhang3, Mareme Niang1, Daniel Fonceka1,4, Jingyin Yu3, Marie A. Mmadi1,2,3, Louis W. Yehouessi1, Boshou Liao3, Xiurong Zhang3* and Ndiaga Cisse1* 1 Centre d’Etudes Régional Pour l’Amélioration de l’Adaptation à la Sécheresse, Thiès, Sénégal, 2 Laboratoire Campus de Biotechnologies Végétales, Département de Biologie Végétale, Faculté des Sciences et Techniques, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Sénégal, 3 Key Laboratory of Biology and Genetic Improvement of Oil Crops, Oil Crops Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Ministry of Agriculture, Wuhan, China, 4 Centre de Coopération nternationale en Recherche Agronomique Pour le Développement, UMR AGAP, Montpellier, France

Abstract : Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) is one of the oldest oilseed crops widely grown in Africa and Asia for its high-quality nutritional seeds. It is well adapted to harsh environments and constitutes an alternative cash crop for smallholders in developing countries.
Despite its economic and nutritional importance, sesame is considered as an orphan crop because it has received very little attention from science. As a consequence, it lags behind the other major oil crops as far as genetic improvement is concerned. In recent years, the scenario has considerably changed with the decoding of the sesame nuclear genome leading to the development of various genomic resources including molecular markers, comprehensive genetic maps, high-quality transcriptome assemblies, webbased functional databases and diverse daft genome sequences. The availability of these tools in association with the discovery of candidate genes and quantitative trait locis for key agronomic traits including high oil content and quality, waterlogging and drought tolerance, disease resistance, cytoplasmic male sterility, high yield, pave the way to the development of some new strategies for sesame genetic improvement. As a result, sesame has graduated from an “orphan crop” to a “genomic resource-rich
crop.” With the limited research teams working on sesame worldwide, more synergic efforts are needed to integrate these resources in sesame breeding for productivity upsurge, ensuring food security and improved livelihood in developing countries. This review retraces the evolution of sesame research by highlighting the recent advances in the “Omics” area and also critically discusses the future prospects for a further genetic improvement and a better expansion of this crop.

Keywords : Sesamum indicum, Omic resources, molecular breeding, large-scale re-sequencing, improvement