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Dried faba beans (Image credit: Fred Stoddard)

Faba bean (Vicia faba) is one of the earliest domesticated crops and is now grown as an important source of protein across climatic zones from Ethiopia to Finland. With an average protein content of 29% and a high yield potential, it delivers more protein per hectare than any other starchy legume. Genomic resources for faba bean have lagged behind because of its large and highly repetitive genome. At 13 Gb, the faba bean genome is one of the largest diploid crop genomes, and the gene content is only about 2%.

The International Faba Bean Genome Sequencing Consortium have taken on the challenge of sequencing and assembling this large genome. The accession used for sequencing is Hedin /2, from which a reference gene set has already been developed based on RNA-seq data. Sequencing using PacBio CLR and Hifi reads has been completed, and the first draft assemblies are currently being evaluated and scaffolded.

Faba bean crossing (Image credit: KeyGene)
Vicia faba chromosomes labelled with FISH to visualize distribution of two satallite repeats (Image credit: Laura Avila Robledillo)
Faba bean plants in a greenhouse trial (Image credit: Marcin Nadzieja)