Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Surprises discovered in decoded kiwifruit genome

Date:
October 25, 2013
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
A new study that decoded the DNA sequence of the kiwifruit has concluded that the fruit has many genetic similarities between its 39,040 genes and other plant species, including potatoes and tomatoes. The study also has unveiled two major evolutionary events that occurred millions of years ago in the kiwifruit genome.

A new study that decoded the DNA sequence of the kiwifruit has concluded that the fruit has many genetic similarities between its 39,040 genes and other plant species, including potatoes and tomatoes.
Credit: marucyan / Fotolia

A new study that decoded the DNA sequence of the kiwifruit has concluded that the fruit has many genetic similarities between its 39,040 genes and other plant species, including potatoes and tomatoes. The study also has unveiled two major evolutionary events that occurred millions of years ago in the kiwifruit genome.

"The kiwifruit is an economically and nutritionally important fruit crop. It has long been called 'the king of fruits' because of its remarkably high vitamin C content and balanced nutritional composition of minerals, dietary fiber and other health-benefits," says Zhangjun Fei, a scientist from the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University. Fei contributed heavily to the study, which was conducted by a team of plant scientists from the United States and China and published Oct. 18 in Nature Communications.

"The genome sequence will serve as a valuable resource for kiwifruit research and may facilitate the breeding program for improved fruit quality and disease resistance," Fei says.

Kiwifruit originated from the mountains and ranges of southwestern China and was not really known to the world until the early 20th century, when farmers in New Zealand discovered the fruit and began breeding it as a commercial crop. It is a form of berry that grows on woody vines, much like grapes, and belongs to the order of Ericales, where blueberries, tea bushes and Brazil nuts are also classified.

One of the most remarkable findings of the study was uncovered when scientists observed a high percentage of similarities within the kiwifruit DNA. The data revealed two unusual mishaps that occurred in the process of cell division about 27 and 80 million years ago, when an extensive expansion of genes arose from an entire extra copy of the genome, followed by extensive gene loss.

Fei explains, "The kiwifruit genome has undergone two recent whole-genome duplication events."

When genes are duplicated, the extra genes can mutate to perform entirely new functions that were not previously present in the organism. This process, called neofunctionalization, can occur with no adverse effects in plants and, in the case of kiwifruit, was quite beneficial.

"The duplication contributed to adding additional members of gene families that are involved in regulating important kiwifruit characteristics, such as fruit vitamin C, flavonoid and carotenoid metabolism," says Fei.

For the sequencing, the scientists used a Chinese variety called "Hongyang," which is widely grown in China, to produce the draft sequence. They then compared kiwifruit to the genomes of other representative plant species including tomato, rice, grape and the mustard weed Arabidopsis. They uncovered about 8,000 genes that were common among all five species. The comparison revealed important evolutionary relationships, including the development genes related to fruit growth, ripening, nutrient metabolism, and disease resistance.

Prior to the study, extensive research on the metabolic accumulation of vitamin C, carotenoids and flavonoids had been reported in kiwifruits, but genome sequence data, critical for its breeding and improvement, had never been available.

"The kiwifruit genome sequence represents the first of a member in the order Ericales, thus providing a valuable resource for comparative genomics and evolutionary studies," Fei says. "We expect to continue generating genome sequences from other kiwifruit varieties to investigate the genetic diversity of kiwifruit and elucidate regulatory networks of important biological processes."

The sequence is accessible online at the Kiwifruit Genome Database. Cornell University has television and ISDN radio studios available for media interviews.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Shengxiong Huang, Jian Ding, Dejing Deng, Wei Tang, Honghe Sun, Dongyuan Liu, Lei Zhang, Xiangli Niu, Xia Zhang, Meng Meng, Jinde Yu, Jia Liu, Yi Han, Wei Shi, Danfeng Zhang, Shuqing Cao, Zhaojun Wei, Yongliang Cui, Yanhua Xia, Huaping Zeng, Kan Bao, Lin Lin, Ya Min, Hua Zhang, Min Miao, Xiaofeng Tang, Yunye Zhu, Yuan Sui, Guangwei Li, Hanju Sun, Junyang Yue, Jiaqi Sun, Fangfang Liu, Liangqiang Zhou, Lin Lei, Xiaoqin Zheng, Ming Liu, Long Huang, Jun Song, Chunhua Xu, Jiewei Li, Kaiyu Ye, Silin Zhong, Bao-Rong Lu, Guanghua He, Fangming Xiao, Hui-Li Wang, Hongkun Zheng, Zhangjun Fei, Yongsheng Liu. Draft genome of the kiwifruit Actinidia chinensis. Nature Communications, 2013; 4 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3640

Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Surprises discovered in decoded kiwifruit genome." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131025155210.htm>.
Cornell University. (2013, October 25). Surprises discovered in decoded kiwifruit genome. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131025155210.htm
Cornell University. "Surprises discovered in decoded kiwifruit genome." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131025155210.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

AP (Apr. 21, 2014) Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The cost of morning staples like bacon, coffee and orange juice is on the rise because of global supply problems. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2014) A 9-year-old Michigan boy was exploring a creek when he came across a 10,000-year-old tooth from a prehistoric mastodon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins