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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Plant Genetics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #296314

Research Project: Genetics and Genomics of Complex Traits in Grain Crops

Location: Plant Genetics Research

Title: The resurrection genome of Boea hygrometrica: A blueprint for survival of dehydration

item XIAO, L - Beijing Normal University
item YANG, G - Beijing Normal University
item ZHANG, L - Beijing Normal University
item YANG, X - Beijing Genome Institute
item ZHAO, S - Beijing Normal University
item JI, Z - Beijing Normal University
item ZHOU, Q - Beijing Genome Institute
item HU, M - Beijing Genome Institute
item Oliver, Melvin
item HE, Y - Beijing Normal University

Submitted to: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/26/2015
Publication Date: 5/5/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Xiao, L., Yang, G., Zhang, L., Yang, X., Zhao, S., Ji, Z., Zhou, Q., Hu, M., Oliver, M.J., He, Y., 2015. The resurrection genome of Boea hygrometrica: A blueprint for survival of dehydration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112(18):5833-5837.

Interpretive Summary: As the scientific community continues to strive for novel strategies to improve drought tolerance in major crops there has been a growing interest in understanding mechanisms of dehydration tolerance in resurrection plants: plants that can withastand total drying. Although progress has been made and candidate genes identified the work has been hampered by the lack of a complete genome sequence for any of the major resurrection plant models. To remedy this situation the group has sequenced the complete genome of the resurrection plant, Boea hygrometrica one of the more important model species. Along with the genome sequence the group has also mapped the effect of dehydration on both gene expression (transcriptomes) and on DNA methylation (methylome) in an effort to fully characterize the genome level control of dehydration tolerance in this species. The work has demonstrated that almost 10,000 genes are regulated in response to dehydration, many of which transcribe alternate transcripts during drying. The work also demonstrates that genes involved in the dehydration tolerance phenotype are methylated in a unique way from those genes that are not involved in the response. Overall the work lays the groundwork and platform for efforts to genetically improve drought tolerance of major crops such as maize and soybean.

Technical Abstract: The dicot, Boea hygrometrica, is an important plant model for the discovery of genes central to desiccation tolerance in plants; an essential trait in land plant evolution and the foundation for global agriculture. We used a vegetative clonal line to uncover the sequence and characterize the response to dehydration of the~1,691 Mb genome of this resurrection plant, the first of its kind. We assembled 91.52% of the genome (85.86% non-gapped) revealing 49,374 genes, 29.15% of which are unique to this species. The genome has undergone two full duplication events during its evolution. Desiccation significantly alters the expression of 9,888 genes whose products are associated with loss of metabolic function and induction of protective components. We determined that gene methylation and transcript selection via alternative splicing play a significant role in the drying response. This genome will serve as a platform for genetic improvement of drought tolerance of crops.