Tung Tree (Vernicia fordii) Genome Provides A Resource for Understanding Genome Evolution and Improved Oil Production.

Zhang L, Liu M, Long H, Dong W, Pasha A, Esteban E, Li W, Yang X, Li Z, Song A, Ran D, Zhao G, Zeng Y, Chen H, Zou M, Li J, Liang F, Xie M, Hu J, Wang D, Cao H, Provart NJ, Zhang L, Tan X.

Genomics Proteomics Bioinformatics 2020 S1672-0229(18):30216. doi: 10.1016/j.gpb.2019.03.006

PMID: 32224189


Tung tree (Vernicia fordii) is an economically important woody oil plant that produces tung oil rich in eleostearic acid. Here, we report a high-quality chromosome-scale genome sequence of tung tree. The genome sequence was assembled by combining Illumina short reads, Pacific Biosciences single-molecule real-time long reads, and Hi-C sequencing data. The size of tung tree genome is 1.12 Gb, with 28,422 predicted genes and over 73% repeat sequences. The V. fordii underwent an ancient genome triplication event shared by core eudicots but no further whole-genome duplication in the subsequent ca. 34.55 million years of evolutionary history of the tung tree lineage. Insertion time analysis revealed that repeat-driven genome expansion might have arisen as a result of long-standing long terminal repeat retrotransposon bursts and lack of efficient DNA deletion mechanisms. The genome harbors 88 resistance genes encoding nucleotide-binding sites; 17 of these genes may be involved in early-infection stage of Fusarium wilt resistance. Further, 651 oil-related genes were identified, 88 of which are predicted to be directly involved in tung oil biosynthesis. Relatively few phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase genes, and synergistic effects between transcription factors and oil biosynthesis-related genes might contribute to the high oil content of tung seed. The tung tree genome constitutes a valuable resource for understanding genome evolution, as well as for molecular breeding and genetic improvements for oil production.