Scientists from the University of Callifornia Riverside (UC Riverside) have
decoded the genome of black-eyed peas, a legume also known as cowpea. This
is the first high-quality reference genome for cowpea.
Cowpeas are small beans with dark midsections and is a global dietary staple
for centuries due to their environmental toughness and exceptional
nutritional qualities, such as high protein and low fat. It is the top
source of protein in the human diet in sub-Saharan Africa.
One of the cowpea's traits that the scientists are looking into is its
remarkable ability to recover from drought stress. Project co-leader Timothy
Close, a UC Riverside professor of botany and plant sciences said, "We're
trying to figure out why cowpeas are so resilient to harsh conditions. As we
move into a world with less water available to agriculture, it will be
important to capitalize on this ability and expand on it, taking the lead
from cowpeas to guide improvements in other crops that are vulnerable to