Allele-aware chromosome-level genome assembly and efficient transgene-free genome editing for the autotetraploid cultivated alfalfa

Journal: Nature Communications

Published: 2020-05-19

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-16338-x

Affiliations: 11

Authors: 24

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Research Highlight

Alfalfa genome assembled

© toddarbini/Getty

© toddarbini/Getty

Researchers have assembled the genome of alfalfa and established a protocol for editing it with the CRISPR-Cas9 system, providing key resources for research into and molecular breeding of this important crop.

The complexity of the alfalfa genome coupled with the plant’s self-incompatibility has made it a difficult crop to breed.

To assemble its genome, a team led by researchers at Lanzhou University in China exploited a new sequencing approach known as consensus circular sequencing. Together with a method called chromosome conformation capture, this enabled them to generate a high-quality assembly that included the allelic variation throughout the genome.

The team then used this to guide the construction of a CRISPR-Cas9 system to knock down a specific target gene. As a proof-of-concept, they disabled the PDS gene and showed that the mutation was inherited in the following generation. These tools will be valuable in efforts to improve this important crop.

Supported content

  1. Nature Communications 11, 2494 (2020). doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-16338-x
Institutions Share
Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU), China 0.33
Lanzhou University (LZU), China 0.18
Kunming Institute of Zoology (KIZ), CAS, China 0.09
BGI-China, China 0.08
Guangdong Sanjie Forage Biotechnology Co., Ltd., China 0.07
Sanjie Institute of Forage, China 0.07
Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG), CAS, China 0.06
CAS Center for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences, SIBS CAS, China 0.06
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS), China 0.06