A new chapter opens on cotton genomics-Zhu Yuxian’s new upland cotton genome results published in Nature serial
Time:May 5, 2015  Clicks:

On April 20th, Nature Biotechnology reported the newest progress of upland cotton genome analysis by researchers led by Zhu Yuxian and his project team, who is an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. This study ended the absence of a referential genome map for upland cotton, and opened a new chapter on cotton genomics.

The paper is titled “Genome sequence of cultivated Upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum TM-1) provides insights into genome evolution”, of which Zhu Yuxian is one of the joint correspondence authors.

We have been informed that the upland cotton (AD genome), native to central America, is the domesticated cotton with the largest area of plantation and highest yield in the world. It is developed one to two million years ago, through the hybridization and chromosome doubling of the Asiatic cotton (A genome) and Gossypium raimondii (D genome). For a long time, the absence of a high quality referential genome has hindered the research on the molecular mechanism of its cotton fiber growth and crop breeding.

To solve this problem, Academician Zhu Yuxian has cooperated with Academician Yu Shuxun, of the Cotton Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and Shenzhen’s BGI Research to analyze the upland cotton genome (at the full length of 2,173 million base pairs), which contains more than 70,000 protein coding genes. Most sequences in the genome consist of transposons, most of which are retrotransposons with long terminal repeat, particularly the Copia and Gypsy types.

This research found that after allopolyploidization, the upland cotton underwent homeologous exchanges; it revealed the regulatory mechanism of ethylene synthesis in cotton, and found that the accurate regulatory adjustment of ethylene is essential for the normal development of cotton fibers, which laid the foundation for cotton breeding supported by cotton genomics. The results will have profound impacts on understanding the complexity of upland cotton genome, evolutionary diversity of cotton species and the study of genetic expression and regulation related to cotton fiber development. It will also provide a theoretical foundation and rich gene resources for future improvement of cotton yield and fiber quality.

Nature Biotechnology is one of the most important serials under Nature Publishing Group. Previously, Zhu’s project team has successively published two papers about Gossypium raimondii and Asiatic cotton genomes on another Nature serial, Nature Genetics, which established his world leading status in the field of cotton genomics. This study was funded by the Cotton 973 Program of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China and the National Natural Science Foundation. Wuhan University is one of the joint first authors of the paper and one of the co-corresponding author institutes.

Evolutionary analysis of upland cotton genome

(Correspondent: Xiao Guanghui. Editor: Fu Xiaoge)