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The Cymbidium genome reveals the evolution of unique morphological traits
Horticulture Research  (IF6.793),  Pub Date : 2021-12-01, DOI: 10.1038/s41438-021-00683-z
Ye Ai, Zhen Li, Wei-Hong Sun, Juan Chen, Diyang Zhang, Liang Ma, Qing-Hua Zhang, Ming-Kun Chen, Qing-Dong Zheng, Jiang-Feng Liu, Yu-Ting Jiang, Bai-Jun Li, Xuedie Liu, Xin-Yu Xu, Xia Yu, Yu Zheng, Xing-Yu Liao, Zhuang Zhou, Jie-Yu Wang, Zhi-Wen Wang, Tai-Xiang Xie, Shan-Hu Ma, Jie Zhou, Yu-Jie Ke, Yu-Zhen Zhou, Hsiang-Chia Lu, Ke-Wei Liu, Feng-Xi Yang, Gen-Fa Zhu, Laiqiang Huang, Dong-Hui Peng, Shi-Pin Chen, Siren Lan, Yves Van de Peer, Zhong-Jian Liu

The marvelously diverse Orchidaceae constitutes the largest family of angiosperms. The genus Cymbidium in Orchidaceae is well known for its unique vegetation, floral morphology, and flower scent traits. Here, a chromosome-scale assembly of the genome of Cymbidium ensifolium (Jianlan) is presented. Comparative genomic analysis showed that C. ensifolium has experienced two whole-genome duplication (WGD) events, the most recent of which was shared by all orchids, while the older event was the τ event shared by most monocots. The results of MADS-box genes analysis provided support for establishing a unique gene model of orchid flower development regulation, and flower shape mutations in C. ensifolium were shown to be associated with the abnormal expression of MADS-box genes. The most abundant floral scent components identified included methyl jasmonate, acacia alcohol and linalool, and the genes involved in the floral scent component network of C. ensifolium were determined. Furthermore, the decreased expression of photosynthesis-antennae and photosynthesis metabolic pathway genes in leaves was shown to result in colorful striped leaves, while the increased expression of MADS-box genes in leaves led to perianth-like leaves. Our results provide fundamental insights into orchid evolution and diversification.