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Nat Genet. 2017 May;49(5):765-772. doi: 10.1038/ng.3839. Epub 2017 Apr 10.

Genomic analyses of primitive, wild and cultivated citrus provide insights into asexual reproduction.

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Key Laboratory of Horticultural Plant Biology (Ministry of Education), Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, P.R. China.
Citrus Research Institute, Southwest University, Chongqing, P.R. China.
Hubei Key Laboratory of Agricultural Bioinformatics, College of Informatics, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, P.R. China.
Institute of Animal Genetics and Breeding, College of Animal Science and Technology, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu, P.R. China.
College of Life Science and Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, P.R. China.
Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, Farmington, Connecticut, USA.


The emergence of apomixis-the transition from sexual to asexual reproduction-is a prominent feature of modern citrus. Here we de novo sequenced and comprehensively studied the genomes of four representative citrus species. Additionally, we sequenced 100 accessions of primitive, wild and cultivated citrus. Comparative population analysis suggested that genomic regions harboring energy- and reproduction-associated genes are probably under selection in cultivated citrus. We also narrowed the genetic locus responsible for citrus polyembryony, a form of apomixis, to an 80-kb region containing 11 candidate genes. One of these, CitRWP, is expressed at higher levels in ovules of polyembryonic cultivars. We found a miniature inverted-repeat transposable element insertion in the promoter region of CitRWP that cosegregated with polyembryony. This study provides new insights into citrus apomixis and constitutes a promising resource for the mining of agriculturally important genes.

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