July 19, 2019  |  

The sunflower genome provides insights into oil metabolism, flowering and Asterid evolution.

Authors: Badouin, Hélène and Gouzy, Jérôme and Grassa, Christopher J and Murat, Florent and Staton, S Evan and Cottret, Ludovic and Lelandais-Brière, Christine and Owens, Gregory L and Carrère, Sébastien and Mayjonade, Baptiste and Legrand, Ludovic and Gill, Navdeep and Kane, Nolan C and Bowers, John E and Hubner, Sariel and Bellec, Arnaud and Bérard, Aurélie and Bergès, Hélène and Blanchet, Nicolas and Boniface, Marie-Claude and Brunel, Dominique and Catrice, Olivier and Chaidir, Nadia and Claudel, Clotilde and Donnadieu, Cécile and Faraut, Thomas and Fievet, Ghislain and Helmstetter, Nicolas and King, Matthew and Knapp, Steven J and Lai, Zhao and Le Paslier, Marie-Christine and Lippi, Yannick and Lorenzon, Lolita and Mandel, Jennifer R and Marage, Gwenola and Marchand, Gwenaëlle and Marquand, Elodie and Bret-Mestries, Emmanuelle and Morien, Evan and Nambeesan, Savithri and Nguyen, Thuy and Pegot-Espagnet, Prune and Pouilly, Nicolas and Raftis, Frances and Sallet, Erika and Schiex, Thomas and Thomas, Justine and Vandecasteele, Céline and Varès, Didier and Vear, Felicity and Vautrin, Sonia and Crespi, Martin and Mangin, Brigitte and Burke, John M and Salse, Jérôme and Muños, Stéphane and Vincourt, Patrick and Rieseberg, Loren H and Langlade, Nicolas B

The domesticated sunflower, Helianthus annuus L., is a global oil crop that has promise for climate change adaptation, because it can maintain stable yields across a wide variety of environmental conditions, including drought. Even greater resilience is achievable through the mining of resistance alleles from compatible wild sunflower relatives, including numerous extremophile species. Here we report a high-quality reference for the sunflower genome (3.6 gigabases), together with extensive transcriptomic data from vegetative and floral organs. The genome mostly consists of highly similar, related sequences and required single-molecule real-time sequencing technologies for successful assembly. Genome analyses enabled the reconstruction of the evolutionary history of the Asterids, further establishing the existence of a whole-genome triplication at the base of the Asterids II clade and a sunflower-specific whole-genome duplication around 29 million years ago. An integrative approach combining quantitative genetics, expression and diversity data permitted development of comprehensive gene networks for two major breeding traits, flowering time and oil metabolism, and revealed new candidate genes in these networks. We found that the genomic architecture of flowering time has been shaped by the most recent whole-genome duplication, which suggests that ancient paralogues can remain in the same regulatory networks for dozens of millions of years. This genome represents a cornerstone for future research programs aiming to exploit genetic diversity to improve biotic and abiotic stress resistance and oil production, while also considering agricultural constraints and human nutritional needs.

Journal: Nature
DOI: 10.1038/nature22380
Year: 2017

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