, Volume 238, Issue 6, pp 1005-1024
Date: 24 Sep 2013

Applications and challenges of next-generation sequencing in Brassica species


Next-generation sequencing (NGS) produces numerous (often millions) short DNA sequence reads, typically varying between 25 and 400 bp in length, at a relatively low cost and in a short time. This revolutionary technology is being increasingly applied in whole-genome, transcriptome, epigenome and small RNA sequencing, molecular marker and gene discovery, comparative and evolutionary genomics, and association studies. The Brassica genus comprises some of the most agro-economically important crops, providing abundant vegetables, condiments, fodder, oil and medicinal products. Many Brassica species have undergone the process of polyploidization, which makes their genomes exceptionally complex and can create difficulties in genomics research. NGS injects new vigor into Brassica research, yet also faces specific challenges in the analysis of complex crop genomes and traits. In this article, we review the advantages and limitations of different NGS technologies and their applications and challenges, using Brassica as an advanced model system for agronomically important, polyploid crops. Specifically, we focus on the use of NGS for genome resequencing, transcriptome sequencing, development of single-nucleotide polymorphism markers, and identification of novel microRNAs and their targets. We present trends and advances in NGS technology in relation to Brassica crop improvement, with wide application for sophisticated genomics research into agronomically important polyploid crops.