Tylosema esculentum (marama bean) is one of the underutilized legumes that have potential to provide protein and fatty acids to ensure food security in dry parts of Southern Africa. In order to establish rapid domestication programs for the plant, it is important to explore the plant’s genome and identify functional genes molecular markers like microsatellites in order to develop molecular tools. With the advent of high-throughput sequencing technologies and associated bioinformatics methods, expressed sequence tags (ESTs) have been developed for many plant species. These are being developed as an economic means of obtaining large numbers of gene sequences. The aim of this study was to identify genes with important roles for valuable agronomic traits and microsatellite sequences for marama bean. The authors reported the identification of genes associated with embryonic development and microsatellite sequences. The future direction will entail characterization of these genes using gene over-expression and mutant assays.
Key words: Namibia, simple sequence repeats (SSR), data mining, homology searches, bioinformatics, Tylosema esculentum.