Received: 10 Jul 2019 Revised: 17 Oct 2019 Accepted: 06 Nov 2019 Published online: 01 Jan 2020
Tea is among the world’s most widely consumed non-alcoholic beverages and possesses enormous economic, health, and cultural values. It is produced from the cured leaves of tea plants, which are important evergreen crops globally cultivated in over 50 countries. Along with recent innovations and advances in biotechnologies, great progress in tea plant genomics and genetics has been achieved, which has facilitated our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of tea quality and the evolution of the tea plant genome. In this review, we briefly summarize the achievements of the past two decades, which primarily include diverse genome and transcriptome sequencing projects, gene discovery and regulation studies, investigation of the epigenetics and noncoding RNAs, origin and domestication, phylogenetics and germplasm utilization of tea plant as well as newly developed tools/platforms. We also present perspectives and possible challenges for future functional genomic studies that will contribute to the acceleration of breeding programs in tea plants.