April 21, 2020  |  

Gossypium barbadense and Gossypium hirsutum genomes provide insights into the origin and evolution of allotetraploid cotton.

Allotetraploid cotton is an economically important natural-fiber-producing crop worldwide. After polyploidization, Gossypium hirsutum L. evolved to produce a higher fiber yield and to better survive harsh environments than Gossypium barbadense, which produces superior-quality fibers. The global genetic and molecular bases for these interspecies divergences were unknown. Here we report high-quality de novo-assembled genomes for these two cultivated allotetraploid species with pronounced improvement in repetitive-DNA-enriched centromeric regions. Whole-genome comparative analyses revealed that species-specific alterations in gene expression, structural variations and expanded gene families were responsible for speciation and the evolutionary history of these species. These findings help to elucidate the evolution of cotton genomes and their domestication history. The information generated not only should enable breeders to improve fiber quality and resilience to ever-changing environmental conditions but also can be translated to other crops for better understanding of their domestication history and use in improvement.


April 21, 2020  |  

Reference genome sequences of two cultivated allotetraploid cottons, Gossypium hirsutum and Gossypium barbadense.

Allotetraploid cotton species (Gossypium hirsutum and Gossypium barbadense) have long been cultivated worldwide for natural renewable textile fibers. The draft genome sequences of both species are available but they are highly fragmented and incomplete1-4. Here we report reference-grade genome assemblies and annotations for G. hirsutum accession Texas Marker-1 (TM-1) and G. barbadense accession 3-79 by integrating single-molecule real-time sequencing, BioNano optical mapping and high-throughput chromosome conformation capture techniques. Compared with previous assembled draft genomes1,3, these genome sequences show considerable improvements in contiguity and completeness for regions with high content of repeats such as centromeres. Comparative genomics analyses identify extensive structural variations that probably occurred after polyploidization, highlighted by large paracentric/pericentric inversions in 14 chromosomes. We constructed an introgression line population to introduce favorable chromosome segments from G. barbadense to G. hirsutum, allowing us to identify 13 quantitative trait loci associated with superior fiber quality. These resources will accelerate evolutionary and functional genomic studies in cotton and inform future breeding programs for fiber improvement.


September 22, 2019  |  

A global survey of alternative splicing in allopolyploid cotton: landscape, complexity and regulation.

Alternative splicing (AS) is a crucial regulatory mechanism in eukaryotes, which acts by greatly increasing transcriptome diversity. The extent and complexity of AS has been revealed in model plants using high-throughput next-generation sequencing. However, this technique is less effective in accurately identifying transcript isoforms in polyploid species because of the high sequence similarity between coexisting subgenomes. Here we characterize AS in the polyploid species cotton. Using Pacific Biosciences single-molecule long-read isoform sequencing (Iso-Seq), we developed an integrated pipeline for Iso-Seq transcriptome data analysis (https://github.com/Nextomics/pipeline-for-isoseq). We identified 176 849 full-length transcript isoforms from 44 968 gene models and updated gene annotation. These data led us to identify 15 102 fibre-specific AS events and estimate that c. 51.4% of homoeologous genes produce divergent isoforms in each subgenome. We reveal that AS allows differential regulation of the same gene by miRNAs at the isoform level. We also show that nucleosome occupancy and DNA methylation play a role in defining exons at the chromatin level. This study provides new insights into the complexity and regulation of AS, and will enhance our understanding of AS in polyploid species. Our methodology for Iso-Seq data analysis will be a useful reference for the study of AS in other species.© 2017 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2017 New Phytologist Trust.


September 22, 2019  |  

Contemporary evolution of a Lepidopteran species, Heliothis virescens, in response to modern agricultural practices.

Adaptation to human-induced environmental change has the potential to profoundly influence the genomic architecture of affected species. This is particularly true in agricultural ecosystems, where anthropogenic selection pressure is strong. Heliothis virescens primarily feeds on cotton in its larval stages, and US populations have been declining since the widespread planting of transgenic cotton, which endogenously expresses proteins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). No physiological adaptation to Bt toxin has been found in the field, so adaptation in this altered environment could involve (i) shifts in host plant selection mechanisms to avoid cotton, (ii) changes in detoxification mechanisms required for cotton-feeding vs. feeding on other hosts or (iii) loss of resistance to previously used management practices including insecticides. Here, we begin to address whether such changes occurred in H. virescens populations between 1997 and 2012, as Bt-cotton cultivation spread through the agricultural landscape. For our study, we produced an H. virescens genome assembly and used this in concert with a ddRAD-seq-enabled genome scan to identify loci with significant allele frequency changes over the 15-year period. Genetic changes at a previously described H. virescens insecticide target of selection were detectable in our genome scan and increased our confidence in this methodology. Additional loci were also detected as being under selection, and we quantified the selection strength required to elicit observed allele frequency changes at each locus. Potential contributions of genes near loci under selection to adaptive phenotypes in the H. virescens cotton system are discussed.© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


July 19, 2019  |  

TAL effector driven induction of a SWEET gene confers susceptibility to bacterial blight of cotton.

Transcription activator-like (TAL) effectors from Xanthomonas citri subsp. malvacearum (Xcm) are essential for bacterial blight of cotton (BBC). Here, by combining transcriptome profiling with TAL effector-binding element (EBE) prediction, we show that GhSWEET10, encoding a functional sucrose transporter, is induced by Avrb6, a TAL effector determining Xcm pathogenicity. Activation of GhSWEET10 by designer TAL effectors (dTALEs) restores virulence of Xcm avrb6 deletion strains, whereas silencing of GhSWEET10 compromises cotton susceptibility to infections. A BBC-resistant line carrying an unknown recessive b6 gene bears the same EBE as the susceptible line, but Avrb6-mediated induction of GhSWEET10 is reduced, suggesting a unique mechanism underlying b6-mediated resistance. We show via an extensive survey of GhSWEET transcriptional responsiveness to different Xcm field isolates that additional GhSWEETs may also be involved in BBC. These findings advance our understanding of the disease and resistance in cotton and may facilitate the development cotton with improved resistance to BBC.


July 19, 2019  |  

Resequencing of 243 diploid cotton accessions based on an updated A genome identifies the genetic basis of key agronomic traits.

The ancestors of Gossypium arboreum and Gossypium herbaceum provided the A subgenome for the modern cultivated allotetraploid cotton. Here, we upgraded the G. arboreum genome assembly by integrating different technologies. We resequenced 243?G. arboreum and G. herbaceum accessions to generate a map of genome variations and found that they are equally diverged from Gossypium raimondii. Independent analysis suggested that Chinese G. arboreum originated in South China and was subsequently introduced to the Yangtze and Yellow River regions. Most accessions with domestication-related traits experienced geographic isolation. Genome-wide association study (GWAS) identified 98 significant peak associations for 11 agronomically important traits in G. arboreum. A nonsynonymous substitution (cysteine-to-arginine substitution) of GaKASIII seems to confer substantial fatty acid composition (C16:0 and C16:1) changes in cotton seeds. Resistance to fusarium wilt disease is associated with activation of GaGSTF9 expression. Our work represents a major step toward understanding the evolution of the A genome of cotton.


July 7, 2019  |  

Gossypium barbadense genome sequence provides insight into the evolution of extra-long staple fiber and specialized metabolites.

Of the two cultivated species of allopolyploid cotton, Gossypium barbadense produces extra-long fibers for the production of superior textiles. We sequenced its genome (AD)2 and performed a comparative analysis. We identified three bursts of retrotransposons from 20 million years ago (Mya) and a genome-wide uneven pseudogenization peak at 11-20 Mya, which likely contributed to genomic divergences. Among the 2,483 genes preferentially expressed in fiber, a cell elongation regulator, PRE1, is strikingly At biased and fiber specific, echoing the A-genome origin of spinnable fiber. The expansion of the PRE members implies a genetic factor that underlies fiber elongation. Mature cotton fiber consists of nearly pure cellulose. G. barbadense and G. hirsutum contain 29 and 30 cellulose synthase (CesA) genes, respectively; whereas most of these genes (>25) are expressed in fiber, genes for secondary cell wall biosynthesis exhibited a delayed and higher degree of up-regulation in G. barbadense compared with G. hirsutum, conferring an extended elongation stage and highly active secondary wall deposition during extra-long fiber development. The rapid diversification of sesquiterpene synthase genes in the gossypol pathway exemplifies the chemical diversity of lineage-specific secondary metabolites. The G. barbadense genome advances our understanding of allopolyploidy, which will help improve cotton fiber quality.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genome-wide analysis of WOX genes in upland cotton and their expression pattern under different stresses.

WUSCHEL-related homeobox (WOX) family members play significant roles in plant growth and development, such as in embryo patterning, stem-cell maintenance, and lateral organ formation. The recently published cotton genome sequences allow us to perform comprehensive genome-wide analysis and characterization of WOX genes in cotton.In this study, we identified 21, 20, and 38 WOX genes in Gossypium arboreum (2n = 26, A2), G. raimondii (2n = 26, D5), and G. hirsutum (2n = 4x = 52, (AD)t), respectively. Sequence logos showed that homeobox domains were significantly conserved among the WOX genes in cotton, Arabidopsis, and rice. A total of 168 genes from three typical monocots and six dicots were naturally divided into three clades, which were further classified into nine sub-clades. A good collinearity was observed in the synteny analysis of the orthologs from At and Dt (t represents tetraploid) sub-genomes. Whole genome duplication (WGD) and segmental duplication within At and Dt sub-genomes played significant roles in the expansion of WOX genes, and segmental duplication mainly generated the WUS clade. Copia and Gypsy were the two major types of transposable elements distributed upstream or downstream of WOX genes. Furthermore, through comparison, we found that the exon/intron pattern was highly conserved between Arabidopsis and cotton, and the homeobox domain loci were also conserved between them. In addition, the expression pattern in different tissues indicated that the duplicated genes in cotton might have acquired new functions as a result of sub-functionalization or neo-functionalization. The expression pattern of WOX genes under different stress treatments showed that the different genes were induced by different stresses.In present work, WOX genes, classified into three clades, were identified in the upland cotton genome. Whole genome and segmental duplication were determined to be the two major impetuses for the expansion of gene numbers during the evolution. Moreover, the expression patterns suggested that the duplicated genes might have experienced a functional divergence. Together, these results shed light on the evolution of the WOX gene family, and would be helpful in future research.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genomics-enabled analysis of the emergent disease cotton bacterial blight.

Cotton bacterial blight (CBB), an important disease of (Gossypium hirsutum) in the early 20th century, had been controlled by resistant germplasm for over half a century. Recently, CBB re-emerged as an agronomic problem in the United States. Here, we report analysis of cotton variety planting statistics that indicate a steady increase in the percentage of susceptible cotton varieties grown each year since 2009. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that strains from the current outbreak cluster with race 18 Xanthomonas citri pv. malvacearum (Xcm) strains. Illumina based draft genomes were generated for thirteen Xcm isolates and analyzed along with 4 previously published Xcm genomes. These genomes encode 24 conserved and nine variable type three effectors. Strains in the race 18 clade contain 3 to 5 more effectors than other Xcm strains. SMRT sequencing of two geographically and temporally diverse strains of Xcm yielded circular chromosomes and accompanying plasmids. These genomes encode eight and thirteen distinct transcription activator-like effector genes. RNA-sequencing revealed 52 genes induced within two cotton cultivars by both tested Xcm strains. This gene list includes a homeologous pair of genes, with homology to the known susceptibility gene, MLO. In contrast, the two strains of Xcm induce different clade III SWEET sugar transporters. Subsequent genome wide analysis revealed patterns in the overall expression of homeologous gene pairs in cotton after inoculation by Xcm. These data reveal important insights into the Xcm-G. hirsutum disease complex and strategies for future development of resistant cultivars.


July 7, 2019  |  

The genome of the cotton bacterial blight pathogen Xanthomonas citri pv. malvacearum strain MSCT1.

Xanthomonas citri pv. malvacearum is a major pathogen of cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L.. In this study we report the complete genome of the X. citri pv. malvacearum strain MSCT1 assembled from long read DNA sequencing technology. The MSCT1 genome is the first X. citri pv. malvacearum genome with complete coding regions for X. citri pv. malvacearum transcriptional activator-like effectors. In addition functional and structural annotations are presented in this study that will provide a foundation for future pathogenesis studies with MSCT1.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genome sequencing brought Gossypium biology research into a new era.

The first sequenced diploid cotton genome was published in 2012 by the group led by the Institute of Cotton Research, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Cotton genomics research subsequently entered a period of rapid development. The accumulating data have provided new insights into the evolution and domestication of cotton, the development of important agronomic traits, and strategies for improving cotton quality and production.


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