• second-generation sequencing;
  • TAGdb;
  • Brassicaceae;
  • symbiosis;
  • homolog;
  • evolution;
  • NSP


The Brassicaceae contains the most diverse collection of agriculturally important crop species of all plant families. Yet, this is one of the few families that do not form functional symbiotic associations with mycorrhizal fungi in the soil for improved nutrient acquisition. The genes involved in this symbiosis were more recently recruited by legumes for symbiotic association with nitrogen-fixing rhizobia bacteria. This study applied second-generation sequencing (SGS) and analysis tools to discover that two such genes, NSP1 (Nodulation Signalling Pathway 1) and NSP2, remain conserved in diverse members of the Brassicaceae despite the absence of these symbioses. We demonstrate the utility of SGS data for the discovery of putative gene homologs and their analysis in complex polyploid crop genomes with little prior sequence information. Furthermore, we show how this data can be applied to enhance downstream reverse genetics analyses. We hypothesize that Brassica NSP genes may function in the root in other plant–microbe interaction pathways that were recruited for mycorrhizal and rhizobial symbioses during evolution.