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Article|01 Oct 2021|OPEN
Frequent germplasm exchanges drive the high genetic diversity of Chinese-cultivated common apricot germplasm
Qiuping Zhang1, Diyang Zhang2, Kang Yu3, Jingjing Ji3, Ning Liu1, Yuping Zhang1, Ming Xu1, Yu-Jun Zhang1, Xiaoxue Ma1, Shuo Liu1, Wei-Hong Sun2, Xia Yu2, Wenqi Hu2, Si-Ren Lan2, Zhong-Jian Liu2,4,5, & Weisheng Liu1,
1Liaoning Institute of Pomology, Yingkou 115009, China
2Key Laboratory of National Forestry and Grassland Administration for Orchid Conservation and Utilization at College of Landscape Architecture, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou 350002, China
3BGI Institute of Applied Agriculture, BGI-Agro, Shenzhen 518210, China
4Institute of Vegetable and Flowers, Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Jinan 250100, China
5Zhejiang Institute of Subtropical Crops, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Wenzhou 325005, China

Horticulture Research 8,
Article number: 215 (2021)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2021.215
Views: 122

Received: 22 Feb 2021
Revised: 08 Jun 2021
Accepted: 25 Jun 2021
Published online: 01 Oct 2021


The genetic diversity of germplasm is critical for exploring genetic and phenotypic resources and has important implications for crop-breeding sustainability and improvement. However, little is known about the factors that shape and maintain genetic diversity. Here, we assembled a high-quality chromosome-level reference of the Chinese common apricot ‘Yinxiangbai’, and we resequenced 180 apricot accessions that cover four major ecogeographical groups in China and other accessions from occidental countries. We concluded that Chinese-cultivated common apricot germplasms possessed much higher genetic diversity than those cultivated in Western countries. We also detected seven migration events among different apricot groups, where 27% of the genome was identified as being introgressed. Remarkably, we demonstrated that these introgressed regions drove the current high level of germplasm diversity in Chinese-cultivated common apricots by introducing different genes related to distinct phenotypes from different cultivated groups. Our results highlight the consideration that introgressed regions may provide an important reservoir of genetic resources that can be used to sustain modern breeding programs.