April 21, 2020  |  

A chromosomal-scale genome assembly of Tectona grandis reveals the importance of tandem gene duplication and enables discovery of genes in natural product biosynthetic pathways.

Teak, a member of the Lamiaceae family, produces one of the most expensive hardwoods in the world. High demand coupled with deforestation have caused a decrease in natural teak forests, and future supplies will be reliant on teak plantations. Hence, selection of teak tree varieties for clonal propagation with superior growth performance is of great importance, and access to high-quality genetic and genomic resources can accelerate the selection process by identifying genes underlying desired traits.To facilitate teak research and variety improvement, we generated a highly contiguous, chromosomal-scale genome assembly using high-coverage Pacific Biosciences long reads coupled with high-throughput chromatin conformation capture. Of the 18 teak chromosomes, we generated 17 near-complete pseudomolecules with one chromosome present as two chromosome arm scaffolds. Genome annotation yielded 31,168 genes encoding 46,826 gene models, of which, 39,930 and 41,155 had Pfam domain and expression evidence, respectively. We identified 14 clusters of tandem-duplicated terpene synthases (TPSs), genes central to the biosynthesis of terpenes, which are involved in plant defense and pollinator attraction. Transcriptome analysis revealed 10 TPSs highly expressed in woody tissues, of which, 8 were in tandem, revealing the importance of resolving tandemly duplicated genes and the quality of the assembly and annotation. We also validated the enzymatic activity of four TPSs to demonstrate the function of key TPSs.In summary, this high-quality chromosomal-scale assembly and functional annotation of the teak genome will facilitate the discovery of candidate genes related to traits critical for sustainable production of teak and for anti-insecticidal natural products. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press.


April 21, 2020  |  

The Reference Genome Sequence of Scutellaria baicalensis Provides Insights into the Evolution of Wogonin Biosynthesis.

Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi is important in Chinese traditional medicine where preparations of dried roots, “Huang Qin,” are used for liver and lung complaints and as complementary cancer treatments. We report a high-quality reference genome sequence for S. baicalensis where 93% of the 408.14-Mb genome has been assembled into nine pseudochromosomes with a super-N50 of 33.2 Mb. Comparison of this sequence with those of closely related species in the order Lamiales, Sesamum indicum and Salvia splendens, revealed that a specialized metabolic pathway for the synthesis of 4′-deoxyflavone bioactives evolved in the genus Scutellaria. We found that the gene encoding a specific cinnamate coenzyme A ligase likely obtained its new function following recent mutations, and that four genes encoding enzymes in the 4′-deoxyflavone pathway are present as tandem repeats in the genome of S. baicalensis. Further analyses revealed that gene duplications, segmental duplication, gene amplification, and point mutations coupled to gene neo- and subfunctionalizations were involved in the evolution of 4′-deoxyflavone synthesis in the genus Scutellaria. Our study not only provides significant insight into the evolution of specific flavone biosynthetic pathways in the mint family, Lamiaceae, but also will facilitate the development of tools for enhancing bioactive productivity by metabolic engineering in microbes or by molecular breeding in plants. The reference genome of S. baicalensis is also useful for improving the genome assemblies for other members of the mint family and offers an important foundation for decoding the synthetic pathways of bioactive compounds in medicinal plants.Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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