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FAFU Scientists Make New Progress in the Genome of Tieguanyin and the Evolutionary History of Camellia Sinensis

福建农林大学(英文版)   发布时间: 2021-07-19   信息员:

Recently, Prof. You Minsheng and Prof. Zhang Xingtan of FAFU, in collaboration with their teams from home and abroad, have decoded the genome of Tieguanyin (TGY) and the evolutionary history of the tea crop Camellia sinensis. Using independently-developed algorithms, researchers overcame difficulties in assembly of highly heterozygous TGY genome and its intra- and interspecific introgressions, and on this basis, elaborated on allelic imbalance, Camellia sinensis population evolution and domestication, and relevant scientific problems. Their findings were published in the world-class multidisciplinary science journal, Nature Genetics on July 15th, 2021. (Article link: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41588-021-00895-y)

Tieguanyin is native to Xiping, a town in Anxi County, Fujian Province. It is said to have been discovered by a local tea farmer during the reign of Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912), and named as “Tieguanyin” by Emperor Qianlong, for the tea looks like the face of Guanyin (a Chinese Buddhist Goddess of Mercy) and weighs as heavy as iron. Camellia sinensis is a species that exhibits self-incompatibility and accumulates somatic mutation load during long-term clonal propagation, resulting in high heterozygosity and difficulties in assembly of genome. With two independently-developed algorithms (Khaper and ALLHiC), the team has succeeded in assembling two sets of the TGY genomemonoploid reference genome and haplotype-resolved genomeby incorporating Illumina short-read sequences and PacBio single-molecule real-time long-read sequences as well as sequences from high-throughput chromatin conformation capture (Hi-C) technologies. Since Camellia sinensis is a diploid species with 15 pairs of homologous chromosomes (2n=2x=30), haplotype-resolved genome better presents all the genetic information of diploid genome.

Based on the decoding of TGY genome, this project reveals through genetic analysis of Camellia sinensis population the evolutionary and domestication history of the species. This research lays a solid theoretical foundation for discovering functional genes through omics data analysis and molecular biology technology, decoding through the above techniques the genetic regulatory mechanisms behind these genes, and facilitating Big-data-driven smart breeding. Meanwhile, it also provides a scientific basis for shortening breeding cycle, enhancing breeding efficiency, and reducing breeding costs.  

(a) YunLing Tea Farm, Anxi County, Fujian Province

(b)Genome feature of assemblies along the 15 sequenced Oolong tea chromosomes (‘TGY’)

(c) Demographic History of Camellia sinensis population

  

Correspondant/Photogragher: Research Team of Prof. You Minsheng of College of Life Sciences

Translation: Huang Fafeng, International College

Guo Xinying, International College


 
 
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