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Vigna unguiculata (cowpea)


Cowpea is a member of the millettioid (warm-season legume) clade within the legume sub-family Papilionoideae. Due to its drought tolerance and ability to grow on poor quality soils, it is one of the most important food and forage legumes in the semi-arid tropics. Almost 80% of cowpea production takes place in the dry savannahs of tropical West and Central Africa.

Of Special Interest

See map, synteny, and EST resources at HarvEST:cowpea by Tim Close and colleagues.

NCBI taxon3917
GRIN taxon41647

Major Pathogens

PathogenNCBI Taxon ID
Cowpea mosaic virus (CPMV)12264
Macrophomina phaseolina35725

Wikipedia entry

Genome Summary

Chromosomes2n = 2x = 22
Genome size~620 Mbp (Mbp)


BAC library and clonesSee linked document to order clonesLinkout »

Reference Data

Selected References

Current publications on Vigna unguiculata at PubMed.

Muchero W, Ehlers JD, Close TJ, Roberts PA. Genic SNP markers and legume synteny reveal candidate genes underlying QTL for Macrophomina phaseolina resistance and maturity in cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L) Walp.]. BMC Genomics. 2011 Jan 5; 12: 8.

Xu P, Wu X, Wang B, Liu Y, Ehlers JD, Close TJ, Roberts PA, Diop NN, Qin D, Hu T, Lu Z, Li G. A SNP and SSR based genetic map of asparagus bean (Vigna. unguiculata ssp. sesquipedialis) and comparison with the broader species. PLoS One. 2011 Jan 6;6(1):e15952.

Gupta SK, Gopalakrishna T. Development of unigene-derived SSR markers in cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) and their transferability to other Vigna species. Genome. 2010 Jul; 53(7): 508-23.

Muchero W, Ehlers JD, Roberts PA. Restriction site polymorphism-based candidate gene mapping for seedling drought tolerance in cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.]. Theor Appl Genet. 2010 Feb; 120(3): 509-18.

Muchero W, Diop NN, Bhat PR, Fenton RD, Wanamaker S, Pottorff M, Hearne S, Cisse N, Fatokun C, Ehlers JD, Roberts PA, Close TJ. A consensus genetic map of cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L) Walp.] and synteny based on EST-derived SNPs. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Oct 27; 106(43): 18159-64.

Adegbite AA, Amusa NA. The major economic field disease of cowpea in the humid agro-ecologies of south-western Nigeria. African Journal of Biotechnology. 2008 Dec 29; 7(25): 4706-4712.

Timko MP, Rushton PJ, Laudeman TW, Bokowiec MT, Chipumuro E, Cheung F, Town CD, Chen X. Sequencing and analysis of the gene-rich space of cowpea. BMC Genomics. 2008 Feb 27; 9: 103.

Chen X, Laudeman TW, Rushton PJ, Spraggins TA, Timko MP. CGKB: an annotation knowledge base for cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.) methylation filtered genomic genespace sequences. BMC Bioinformatics. 2007 Apr 19; 8: 129.