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Article|01 May 2021|OPEN
Genetic basis of high aroma and stress tolerance in the oolong tea cultivar genome
Pengjie Wang1, Jiaxin Yu2,3, Shan Jin1, Shuai Chen2,3, Chuan Yue1, Wenling Wang3, Shuilian Gao1, Hongli Cao1, Yucheng Zheng1, Mengya Gu1, Xuejin Chen1, Yun Sun1, Yuqiong Guo1, Jiangfan Yang1, Xingtan Zhang3,2, & Naixing Ye1,
1College of Horticulture, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University/Key Laboratory of Tea Science in Universities of Fujian Province, 350002 Fuzhou, China
2Shenzhen Branch, Guangdong Laboratory for Lingnan Modern Agriculture, Genome Analysis Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture, Agricultural Genomics Institute at Shenzhen, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 518120 Shenzhen, China
3Center for Genomics and Biotechnology, Fujian Provincial Key Laboratory of Haixia Applied Plant Systems Biology, Key Laboratory of Genetics, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, 350002 Fuzhou, China

Horticulture Research 8,
Article number: 107 (2021)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2021.107
Views: 232

Received: 08 Sep 2020
Revised: 05 Feb 2021
Accepted: 24 Feb 2021
Published online: 01 May 2021


Tea plants (Camellia sinensis) are commercially cultivated in >60 countries, and their fresh leaves are processed into tea, which is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. Although several chromosome-level tea plant genomes have been published, they collapsed the two haplotypes and ignored a large number of allelic variations that may underlie important biological functions in this species. Here, we present a phased chromosome-scale assembly for an elite oolong tea cultivar, “Huangdan”, that is well known for its high levels of aroma. Based on the two sets of haplotype genome data, we identified numerous genetic variations and a substantial proportion of allelic imbalance related to important traits, including aroma- and stress-related alleles. Comparative genomics revealed extensive structural variations as well as expansion of some gene families, such as terpene synthases (TPSs), that likely contribute to the high-aroma characteristics of the backbone parent, underlying the molecular basis for the biosynthesis of aroma-related chemicals in oolong tea. Our results uncovered the genetic basis of special features of this oolong tea cultivar, providing fundamental genomic resources to study evolution and domestication for the economically important tea crop.