RNA sequencing provides insights into the evolution of lettuce and the regulation of flavonoid biosynthesis

Journal: Nature Communications

Published: 2017-12-22

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-02445-9

Affiliations: 4

Authors: 14

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Research Highlight

The many shades of lettuce

© Moppet/Getty

© Moppet/Getty

Analysis of gene expression in different lettuce varieties has pointed researchers towards the genes responsible for making flavonoids — compounds contribute to nutritional value and give some leaves a red colour.

Lettuce cultivars range in shape from leafy to dense heads, and their colour varies between green and red. To understand the basis of this variability, a team led by researchers at Huazhong Agricultural University used RNA sequencing to analyse the transcriptomes of 240 types of lettuce.

Their analysis showed that the varieties all derive from a single domestication event around 10,800 years ago in the Fertile Crescent. It also revealed six genomic regions associated with leaf colour and nine regions associated with flavonoid biosynthesis. These regions contain dozens of genes, some of which have never been characterized.

Future work will build on this list to enhance our understanding of flavonoid biosynthesis and breed cultivars with improved nutritional value.

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  1. Nature Communications 8, 2264 (2017). doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-02445-9
Institutions Share
Huazhong Agricultural University (HZAU), China 0.71
University of California, Davis (UC Davis), United States of America (USA) 0.29