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Article|02 Jun 2023|OPEN
The genome of okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) provides insights into its genome evolution and high nutrient content 
Ruyu Wang1 , Wei Li1,2 , Qiang He1,2 , Hongyu Zhang1 , Meijia Wang1 , Xinyuan Zheng1 , Ze Liu1 , Yu Wang1 and Cailian Du1 , Huilong Du1,2 , , Longsheng Xing,1,2 ,
1College of Life Sciences, Institute of Life Sciences and Green Development, Hebei University, Baoding 071000, China
2Hebei Basic Science Center for Biotic Interaction, Institute of Life Sciences and Green Development, Hebei University, Baoding 071000, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:,

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhad120 (2023)
Views: 104

Received: 12 Mar 2023
Accepted: 26 May 2023
Published online: 02 Jun 2023


Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) is an important vegetable crop with high nutritional value. However, the mechanism underlying its high nutrient content remains poorly understood. Here, we present a chromosome-scale genome of okra with a size of 1.19 Gb. Comparative genomics analysis revealed the phylogenetic status of A. esculentus, as well as whole-genome duplication (WGD) events that have occurred widely across the Malvaceae species. We found that okra has experienced three additional WGDs compared with the diploid cotton Gossypium raimondii, resulting in a large chromosome number (2n = 130). After three WGDs, okra has undergone extensive genomic deletions and retained substantial numbers of genes related to secondary metabolite biosynthesis and environmental adaptation, resulting in significant differences between okra and G. raimondii in the gene families related to cellulose synthesis. Combining transcriptomic and metabolomic analysis, we revealed the relationship between gene expression and metabolite content change across different okra developmental stages. Furthermore, the sinapic acid/S-lignin biosynthesis-related gene families have experienced remarkable expansion in okra, and the expression of key enzymes involved in the sinapic acid/S-lignin biosynthesis pathway vary greatly across developmental periods, which partially explains the differences in metabolite content across the different stages. Our study gains insights into the comprehensive evolutionary history of Malvaceae species and the genetic basis that underlies the nutrient content changes in okra, which will facilitate the functional study and genetic improvement of okra varieties.