The first genome sequence of Chinese Plum provides a clue

A Chinese research team led by Beijing Forestry University, BGI, Beijing Lin Fu Ke Yuan Flowers Co. Ltd and other institutes has completed a combined study of the first genomic sequence of Prunus mume known as mei. This research was extremely important for the deeper understanding of the Rosaceae evolution and in providing an invaluable resource for the improvement of fruit trees. This latest study was published online in the December 27 in Nature Communication.

The P.mume is domesticated in China for over 3000 years ago and it belongs to the Rosaceae, which is the third most economically important plant family in temperate regions that is characterized by high nutrition, medical value and is tolerant to low temperatures during winter season. This tree is has been placed in high esteem by the artists, writers in their literature by extolling its beauty of its flowers and the blossom is considered to be symbol of Chinese nationalist spirits. With the availability of the P.mume genome, scientists and researchers opine that a new door had been opened for better decoding the mysteries of this fascinating tree.

The artificial grafting of this tree makes the P.genome so diverse that it is quite difficult to assemble their genomes. During the research process, the scientists has sequenced the genome of P.mume – a wild species from Tibet by using a robust approach through integrating with next generation sequencing or NGS and a whole genome mapping or WGM technologies. The scientists then constructed a high-density genetic map by applying the restriction site associated DNA (RAD) marker strategy that further improved the quality of genetic reference. The final efforts of this assimilation resulted in the yielding of the ~237 Mb P.mume reference genome.

P.mume is one of the first trees that bloom during the early spring even when the temperatures are below 0°Celsius. The disease resistance related genes will benefit the future breeding improvement. Researchers hope that the P.mume genome lays a solid foundation for identification of important economic traits and provides a valuable resource for P.mume breeding and other Rosaceae species studies.

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