Apr 1, 2020

Genome and time-of-day transcriptome of Wolffia australiana link morphological extreme minimization with un-gated plant growth

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Todd P MichaelE. Lam


Wolffia is the fastest growing plant genus on Earth with a recorded doubling time of less than a day. Wolffia has a dramatically reduced body plan, primarily growing through a continuous, budding-type asexual reproduction with no obvious phase transition. Most plants are bound by the 24-hour light-dark cycle with the majority of processes such as gene expression partitioned or phased to a specific time-of-day (TOD). However, the role that TOD information and the circadian clock plays in facilitating the growth of a fast-growing plant is unknown. Here we generated draft reference genomes for Wolffia australiana (Benth.) Hartog & Plas to monitor gene expression over a two-day time course under light-dark cycles. Wolffia australiana has the smallest genome size in the genus at 357 Mb, and has a dramatically reduced gene set at 15,312 with a specific loss of root (WOX5), vascular (CASP), circadian (TOC1), and light-signaling (NPH3) genes. Remarkably, it has also lost all but one of the NLR genes that are known to be involved in innate immunity. In addition, only 13% of its genes cycle, which is far less than in other plants, with an overrepresentation of genes associated with carbon processing and chloroplast-related functions. Des...Continue Reading

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