Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) provides a staple food source for millions of people in tropical and subtropical world regions. Brazil is the major center of diversification for species of the Manihot, and a center for domestication of the cultivated species originated from wild ancestral M. esculenta subsp. flabellifolia. Genetic breeding of cassava depends on landraces. Molecular phylogenetic technologies used to study genetic traits selected by mankind in crops, are likely to predict proposed “domestication syndrome.” Phylogenetic trees use DNA sequences alignment to infer on gene historical events. A study on regulatory and structural complexity that dictates gene/protein function, will add non-sequence information to predict a more complete understanding of functional evolution. Transcriptional profile contains critical information on when and where a gene is manifested. These regulatory properties could explain functional genes diversity achieved within gene families across closely related species such as cassava and its ancestor. Microarray technologies measure transcriptional response of gene to a given environmental or genetic factor. Integration of genomic and transcriptomic data provides more detailed picture of molecular evolution. This chapter describes comprehensive study using the wild relative of cassava ancestor, recognition of natural morphological trait changes during domestication, and gene expression of cassava storage root.
Part of the book: Cassava