Chinese researchers reveal the world’s first graphic pan-genome in the field of forage

Chengdu, March 3 (ZXS) — The reporter learned from Sichuan Agricultural University on the 3rd that the team of Professor Huang Linkai of the College of Pratacultural Science and Technology of the university built the world’s first graphic pangenome in the field of forage – the American wolf tail pattern pangenome, and revealed the molecular mechanism of heat tolerance of wolf tail.

This research result was published online in the international authoritative academic journal Nature Genetics (Nature Genetics) on the 3rd Beijing time under the title of “Pangenomics identifies structural variation associated with heat tolerance in pearl millet”.

American wolftail, also known as pearl millet, is cultivated on an area of about 31 million hectares worldwide. In China, American wolftail is an important forage and fodder. In arid tropical regions such as Africa, American wolftail is an important multigrain crop.

In 2019, Professor Huang Linkai’s team published the high-quality reference genome of duck grass for the first time, which is the first forage reference genome published in China. With the deepening of research and the advancement of technology, the construction of high-quality graphic pan-genome has become an important goal of Professor Huang Linkai’s team.

Through a number of units inside and outside the United Nations, this study selected 10 representative materials from 394 core germplasms collected from 8 regions around the world, assembled the genome de novo, obtained high-quality genome assembly sequences, and combined with a published genome to construct the first American wolftail graphic pangenome.

At present, global warming seriously threatens world food security. Analyzing the heat tolerance mechanism of plants, so as to improve plant heat tolerance and cultivate high temperature resistant crops is one of the important breeding goals.

Originating from Africa, American wolftail can adapt to extremely high temperature climates and is an excellent material for studying the heat tolerance mechanism of plants. Through comparative genomic analysis of rice, maize, sorghum and other species, it was found that the expanded RWP-RK transcription factor family and endoplasmic reticulum related genes in Wolftail americana were synergistically involved in the regulation of heat tolerance, and three key structural variants and regulatory candidate genes were discovered and verified, among which the overexpression of the gene PMF0G00024.1 (RWP-RK) in rice also significantly improved heat tolerance, which will provide an important target for molecular breeding.

In the middle is Professor Huang Linkai, left and right are Sun Min and Jin Yarong (both co-first authors) (picture from Sichuan Agricultural University WeChat public account)
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