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 Share
BGI-Shenzhen, China 0.15
The University of Georgia (UGA), United States of America (USA) 0.12
University of Delaware (UD), United States of America (USA) 0.07
Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS), China 0.07
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, United States of America (USA) 0.06
Institute of Botany (IBCAS), CAS, China 0.05
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
The University of Arizona (Arizona), United States of America (USA) 0.05
Mediterranea University of Reggio Calabria (UNIRC), Italy 0.04
Huazhong Agricultural University (HZAU), China 0.02
University of Missouri (Mizzou), United States of America (USA) 0.02
Yunnan Agricultural University (YAU), China 0.02
Tohoku University, Japan 0.02
GreenAcres Life Sciences, Netherlands 0.02
Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (FAFU), China 0.02
Council for Agricultural Research and Analysis of Agricultural Economics (CREA), Italy 0.02
KWS SAAT SE, Germany 0.01
Kasetsart University, Thailand 0.01
The University of Alabama (UA), United States of America (USA) 0.01
Bayer S.p.A., Italy 0.01
Institute of Biosciences and Bioresources (IBBR), CNR, Italy 0.01
Blumen Group S.p.A., Italy 0.01
Dalian University of Technology (DUT), China 0.01
University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark 0.01

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