April 21, 2020  |  

Early Sex-chromosome Evolution in the Diploid Dioecious Plant Mercurialis annua.

Suppressed recombination allows divergence between homologous sex chromosomes and the functionality of their genes. Here, we reveal patterns of the earliest stages of sex-chromosome evolution in the diploid dioecious herb Mercurialis annua on the basis of cytological analysis, de novo genome assembly and annotation, genetic mapping, exome resequencing of natural populations, and transcriptome analysis. The genome assembly contained 34,105 expressed genes, of which 10,076 were assigned to linkage groups. Genetic mapping and exome resequencing of individuals across the species range both identified the largest linkage group, LG1, as the sex chromosome. Although the sex chromosomes of M. annua are karyotypically homomorphic, we estimate that about a third of the Y chromosome has ceased recombining, containing 568 transcripts and spanning 22.3 cM in the corresponding female map. Nevertheless, we found limited evidence for Y-chromosome degeneration in terms of gene loss and pseudogenization, and most X- and Y-linked genes appear to have diverged in the period subsequent to speciation between M. annua and its sister species M. huetii which shares the same sex-determining region. Taken together, our results suggest that the M. annua Y chromosome has at least two evolutionary strata: a small old stratum shared with M. huetii, and a more recent larger stratum that is probably unique to M. annua and that stopped recombining about one million years ago. Patterns of gene expression within the non-recombining region are consistent with the idea that sexually antagonistic selection may have played a role in favoring suppressed recombination.Copyright © 2019, Genetics.

April 21, 2020  |  

De Novo Sequencing and Hybrid Assembly of the Biofuel Crop Jatropha curcas L.: Identification of Quantitative Trait Loci for Geminivirus Resistance.

Jatropha curcas is an important perennial, drought tolerant plant that has been identified as a potential biodiesel crop. We report here the hybrid de novo genome assembly of J. curcas generated using Illumina and PacBio sequencing technologies, and identification of quantitative loci for Jatropha Mosaic Virus (JMV) resistance. In this study, we generated scaffolds of 265.7 Mbp in length, which correspond to 84.8% of the gene space, using Benchmarking Universal Single-Copy Orthologs (BUSCO) analysis. Additionally, 96.4% of predicted protein-coding genes were captured in RNA sequencing data, which reconfirms the accuracy of the assembled genome. The genome was utilized to identify 12,103 dinucleotide simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers, which were exploited in genetic diversity analysis to identify genetically distinct lines. A total of 207 polymorphic SSR markers were employed to construct a genetic linkage map for JMV resistance, using an interspecific F2 mapping population involving susceptible J. curcas and resistant Jatropha integerrima as parents. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis led to the identification of three minor QTLs for JMV resistance, and the same has been validated in an alternate F2 mapping population. These validated QTLs were utilized in marker-assisted breeding for JMV resistance. Comparative genomics of oil-producing genes across selected oil producing species revealed 27 conserved genes and 2986 orthologous protein clusters in Jatropha. This reference genome assembly gives an insight into the understanding of the complex genetic structure of Jatropha, and serves as source for the development of agronomically improved virus-resistant and oil-producing lines.

April 21, 2020  |  

Genome sequence of Jatropha curcas L., a non-edible biodiesel plant, provides a resource to improve seed-related traits.

Jatropha curcas (physic nut), a non-edible oilseed crop, represents one of the most promising alternative energy sources due to its high seed oil content, rapid growth and adaptability to various environments. We report ~339 Mbp draft whole genome sequence of J. curcas var. Chai Nat using both the PacBio and Illumina sequencing platforms. We identified and categorized differentially expressed genes related to biosynthesis of lipid and toxic compound among four stages of seed development. Triacylglycerol (TAG), the major component of seed storage oil, is mainly synthesized by phospholipid:diacylglycerol acyltransferase in Jatropha, and continuous high expression of homologs of oleosin over seed development contributes to accumulation of high level of oil in kernels by preventing the breakdown of TAG. A physical cluster of genes for diterpenoid biosynthetic enzymes, including casbene synthases highly responsible for a toxic compound, phorbol ester, in seed cake, was syntenically highly conserved between Jatropha and castor bean. Transcriptomic analysis of female and male flowers revealed the up-regulation of a dozen family of TFs in female flower. Additionally, we constructed a robust species tree enabling estimation of divergence times among nine Jatropha species and five commercial crops in Malpighiales order. Our results will help researchers and breeders increase energy efficiency of this important oil seed crop by improving yield and oil content, and eliminating toxic compound in seed cake for animal feed. © 2018 The Authors. Plant Biotechnology Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and The Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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