Draft genome sequence of the mulberry tree Morus notabilis

Nature Communications
Ningjia HeZhonghuai Xiang

Abstract

Human utilization of the mulberry-silkworm interaction started at least 5,000 years ago and greatly influenced world history through the Silk Road. Complementing the silkworm genome sequence, here we describe the genome of a mulberry species Morus notabilis. In the 330-Mb genome assembly, we identify 128 Mb of repetitive sequences and 29,338 genes, 60.8% of which are supported by transcriptome sequencing. Mulberry gene sequences appear to evolve ~3 times faster than other Rosales, perhaps facilitating the species' spread worldwide. The mulberry tree is among a few eudicots but several Rosales that have not preserved genome duplications in more than 100 million years; however, a neopolyploid series found in the mulberry tree and several others suggest that new duplications may confer benefits. Five predicted mulberry miRNAs are found in the haemolymph and silk glands of the silkworm, suggesting interactions at molecular levels in the plant-herbivore relationship. The identification and analyses of mulberry genes involved in diversifying selection, resistance and protease inhibitor expressed in the laticifers will accelerate the improvement of mulberry plants.

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