Structural and Functional Characteristics of miRNAs in Five Strategic Millet Species and Their Utility in Drought Tolerance

Chakraborty, A and Viswanath, A and Malipatil, R and Rathore, A and Thirunavukkarasu, N (2020) Structural and Functional Characteristics of miRNAs in Five Strategic Millet Species and Their Utility in Drought Tolerance. Frontiers in Genetics (TSI), 11 (608421). pp. 1-15. ISSN 1664-8021

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Millets are the strategic food crops in arid and drought-prone ecologies. Millets, by virtue of nature, are very well-adapted to drought conditions and able to produce sustainable yield.Millets have important nutrients that can help preventmicro-nutrientmalnutrition. As a result of the adverse effect of climate change and widespread malnutrition, millets have attained a strategic position to sustain food and nutritional security. Although millets can adapt well to the drought ecologies where other cereals fail completely, the yield level is very low under stress. There is a tremendous opportunity to increase the genetic potential of millet crops in dry lands when the genetics of the drought-tolerance mechanism is fully explained. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are the class of small RNAs that control trait expression. They are part of the gene regulation but little studied in millets. In the present study, novel miRNAs and gene targets were identified from the genomic resources of pearl millet, sorghum, foxtail millet, finger millet, and proso millet through in silico approaches. A total of 1,002 miRNAs from 280 families regulating 23,158 targets were identified using different filtration criteria in five millet species. The unique as well as conserved structural features and functional characteristics of miRNA across millets were explained. About 84miRNAs were conserved acrossmillets in different species combinations, which explained the evolutionary relationship of the millets. Further, 215 miRNAs controlling 155 unique major drought-responsive genes, transcription factors, and protein families revealed the genetics of drought tolerance that are accumulated in the millet genomes. The miRNAs regulating the drought stress through specific targets or multiple targets showed through a network analysis. The identified genes regulated by miRNA genes could be useful in developing functional markers and used for yield improvement under drought in millets as well as in other crops.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Statistics, Bio-Informatics & Data Management
Uncontrolled Keywords: MicroRNAs, Millets, Drought stress, Conserved genes, Functional genes
Subjects: Others > Drought Tolerance
Mandate crops > Millets
Others > Food and Nutrition
Depositing User: Mr Arun S
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2021 10:11
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2021 10:11
Official URL:
Funders: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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