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BTI scientist co-leads kiwifruit genome sequencing project
Friday, 2013/05/03 | 13:21:56

An international team, led by Dr. Zhangjun Fei at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Dr. Yongsheng Liu at Hefei University of Technology and Dr. Hongwen Huang at South China Botanical Garden, has sequenced and assembled a draft genome of kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis). A heterozygous diploid Chinese kiwifruit variety, called Hongyang, was used to generate the draft genome sequence, which is accessible at the online Kiwifruit Genome Database (http://bioinfo.bti.cornell.edu/kiwi).


Kiwifruit belongs to Actinidiaceae, the basal family within Ericales. It has long been considered “the king of fruits” due to its remarkably high vitamin C content and balanced nutritional density of minerals, dietary fiber, and other health-beneficial metabolites. Kiwifruit originated in the mountains and ranges of southwestern China, and has experienced a relatively short history of domestication beginning only in the early 20th century when its seeds were introduced to New Zealand, and since then numerous varieties have been developed and cultivated. Today, kiwifruit is an important fresh fruit worldwide with annual production of 1.44 million tons in 2011 (http://faostat.fao.org).


The draft kiwifruit genome represents the first genome sequence of a member in the order Ericales, and the third in the entire asterid lineage, after potato and tomato. The sequence of the kiwifruit genome provides a valuable resource for comparative genomics and evolutionary studies especially in the asterid lineage, which has much less genomic resources available when compared to the rosid lineage. This information also provides a great opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of agronomical and/or biological important traits such as vitamin C metabolism and provide information for the fruit breeders to further enhance the fruit’s nutritional value.

Image: The kiwifruit know as Hongyang, which was used to generate the draft genome sequence.


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