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Article|31 May 2023|OPEN
The gap-free genome of mulberry elucidates the architecture and evolution of polycentric chromosomes 
Bi Ma1 , Honghong Wang1 , Jingchun Liu1 , Lin Chen1 , Xiaoyu Xia1 , Wuqi Wei1 , Zhen Yang1 , Jianglian Yuan1 , Yiwei Luo1 and Ningjia He,1 ,
1State Key Laboratory of Resource Insects, Southwest University, Chongqing, 400715, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhad111 (2023)
Views: 161

Received: 30 Mar 2023
Accepted: 15 May 2023
Published online: 31 May 2023


Mulberry is a fundamental component of the global sericulture industry, and its positive impact on our health and the environment cannot be overstated. However, the mulberry reference genomes reported previously remained unassembled or unplaced sequences. Here, we report the assembly and analysis of the telomere-to-telomere gap-free reference genome of the mulberry species, Morus notabilis, which has emerged as an important reference in mulberry gene function research and genetic improvement. The mulberry gap-free reference genome produced here provides an unprecedented opportunity for us to study the structure and function of centromeres. Our results revealed that all mulberry centromeric regions share conserved centromeric satellite repeats with different copies. Strikingly, we found that M. notabilis is a species with polycentric chromosomes and the only reported polycentric chromosome species up to now. We propose a compelling model that explains the formation mechanism of new centromeres and addresses the unsolved scientific question of the chromosome fusion-fission cycle in mulberry species. Our study sheds light on the functional genomics, chromosome evolution, and genetic improvement of mulberry species.