Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Transcriptome analysis of the oil-rich seed of the bioenergy crop Jatropha curcas L

Gustavo GL Costa1, Kiara C Cardoso1, Luiz EV Del Bem1, Aline C Lima1, Muciana AS Cunha2, Luciana de Campos-Leite1, Renato Vicentini1, Fábio Papes3, Raquel C Moreira4, José A Yunes1, Francisco AP Campos2 and Márcio J Da Silva1*

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering, State University of Campinas, UNICAMP, Campinas, SP, Brazil

2 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department, Federal University of Ceará, UFC, Fortaleza, CE, Brazil

3 Departament of Genetics, Evolution and Bioagents, State University of Campinas, UNICAMP, Campinas, SP, Brazil

4 Research and Development Center, CENPES-PETROBRAS, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

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BMC Genomics 2010, 11:462  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-462

Published: 6 August 2010



To date, oil-rich plants are the main source of biodiesel products. Because concerns have been voiced about the impact of oil-crop cultivation on the price of food commodities, the interest in oil plants not used for food production and amenable to cultivation on non-agricultural land has soared. As a non-food, drought-resistant and oil-rich crop, Jatropha curcas L. fulfils many of the requirements for biofuel production.


We have generated 13,249 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from developing and germinating Jatropha seeds. This strategy allowed us to detect most known genes related to lipid synthesis and degradation. We have also identified ESTs coding for proteins that may be involved in the toxicity of Jatropha seeds. Another unexpected finding is the high number of ESTs containing transposable element-related sequences in the developing seed library (800) when contrasted with those found in the germinating seed library (80).


The sequences generated in this work represent a considerable increase in the number of sequences deposited in public databases. These results can be used to produce genetically improved varieties of Jatropha with increased oil yields, different oil compositions and better agronomic characteristics.