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Nature. 2017 Jan 12;541(7636):212-216. doi: 10.1038/nature20786. Epub 2016 Dec 26.

Genome sequence and genetic diversity of European ash trees.

Author information

1
School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK.
2
QIAGEN Aarhus A/S, Silkeborgvej 2, Prismet, 8000 Aarhus C., Denmark.
3
Centre for Novel Agricultural Products, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK.
4
Biosciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4QD, UK.
5
Earlham Institute, Norwich Research Park, Norwich NR4 7UZ, UK.
6
John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK.
7
Teagasc, Agriculture and Food Development Authority, Ashtown, Dublin D15 KN3K, Ireland.
8
Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 23, 1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark.
9
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3RB, UK.
10
Forest Research, Northern Research Station, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9SY, UK.
11
Earth Trust, Little Wittenham, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 4QZ, UK.
12
National Institute of Agricultural Botany, Cambridge CB3 0LE, UK.
13
Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB, UK.

Abstract

Ash trees (genus Fraxinus, family Oleaceae) are widespread throughout the Northern Hemisphere, but are being devastated in Europe by the fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, causing ash dieback, and in North America by the herbivorous beetle Agrilus planipennis. Here we sequence the genome of a low-heterozygosity Fraxinus excelsior tree from Gloucestershire, UK, annotating 38,852 protein-coding genes of which 25% appear ash specific when compared with the genomes of ten other plant species. Analyses of paralogous genes suggest a whole-genome duplication shared with olive (Olea europaea, Oleaceae). We also re-sequence 37 F. excelsior trees from Europe, finding evidence for apparent long-term decline in effective population size. Using our reference sequence, we re-analyse association transcriptomic data, yielding improved markers for reduced susceptibility to ash dieback. Surveys of these markers in British populations suggest that reduced susceptibility to ash dieback may be more widespread in Great Britain than in Denmark. We also present evidence that susceptibility of trees to H. fraxineus is associated with their iridoid glycoside levels. This rapid, integrated, multidisciplinary research response to an emerging health threat in a non-model organism opens the way for mitigation of the epidemic.

PMID:
28024298
DOI:
10.1038/nature20786
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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