The asparagus genome sheds light on the origin and evolution of a young Y chromosome

Journal: Nature Communications

Published: 2017-11-02

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-01064-8

Affiliations: 30

Authors: 42

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Research Highlight

Asparagus genome sheds new light on evolution of the sexes

© Renee Rendler-Kaplan, Photographer/Moment/Getty

© Renee Rendler-Kaplan, Photographer/Moment/Getty

The common asparagus — Asparagus officinalis — is one of a handful of flowering plants that have separate male and female forms, and now a study has found evidence for how that might have evolved.

An international team, including researchers from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, have identified two key genes in asparagus that control the development of either male or female flowers.

The evolution of sex chromosomes from autosomes — non-sex-chromosomes — has occurred many times, but the mechanism is still being explored. This study lends support to the theory that the process involves the emergence of one gene to suppress female function, leading to formation of a Y chromosome, and the loss of a second gene, coding for essential male functions, to form the X chromosome. 

The finding could help asparagus breeders manipulate the genome to produce the more desirable YY ‘supermale’ form of asparagus which live longer and have better yields. 

Supported content

  1. Nature Communications 8, 1279 (2017). doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-01064-8
Institutions FC
BGI-Shenzhen, China 0.15
Department of Plant Biology, UGA, United States of America (USA) 0.12
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, UD, United States of America (USA) 0.07
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, United States of America (USA) 0.06
Institute of Vegetables and Flowers (IVF), CAAS, China 0.05
Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences (JAAS), CAAS, China 0.05
Limgroup B.V., Netherlands 0.05
State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany (LSEB), IBCAS CAS, China 0.05
Institute of Tropical Bioscience and Biotechnology, CATAS, China 0.04
Environment and Plant Protection Institute, CATAS, China 0.04
Dipartimento di Agraria, UNIRC, Italy 0.04
College of Agronomy and Biotechnology, YAU, China 0.02
College of Life Science and Technology, HZAU, China 0.02
GreenAcres Life Sciences, Netherlands 0.02
Centro di Ricerca per l'Orticoltura (ORT), CREA, Italy 0.02
Division of Biological Sciences, Mizzou, United States of America (USA) 0.02
Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University, Japan 0.02
School of Plant Sciences (SPS), Arizona, United States of America (USA) 0.02
Arizona Genomics Institute (AGI), Arizona, United States of America (USA) 0.02
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB), Arizona, United States of America (USA) 0.02
Blumen Group S.p.A., Italy 0.01
Kamphaeng Saen Campus, Kasetsart University, Thailand 0.01
KWS SAAT SE, Germany 0.01
Center for Genomics and Biotechnology, FAFU, China 0.01
Fujian Provincial Key Laboratory of Haixia Applied Plant Systems Biology, FAFU, China 0.01
Department of Biological Sciences (BSC), UA, United States of America (USA) 0.01
Bayer S.p.A., Italy 0.01
Palermo Division of IBBR, CNR, Italy 0.01
School of Life Science and Biotechnology, DUT, China 0.01
Department of Biology, UCPH, Denmark 0.01

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