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Article|27 Nov 2023|OPEN
Phased gap-free genome assembly of octoploid cultivated strawberry illustrates the genetic and epigenetic divergence among subgenomes
Yanhong Song1 ,† , Yanling Peng2 ,† , Lifeng Liu1 , Gang Li1 , Xia Zhao1 , Xu Wang2 , Shuo Cao2 , Aline Muyle3 , Yongfeng Zhou2,4 , , Houcheng Zhou,1 ,
1National Key Laboratory for Germplasm Innovation & Utilization of Horticultural Crops, Zhengzhou Fruit Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Zhengzhou, 450009, China
2National Key Laboratory of Tropical Crop Breeding, Shenzhen Branch, Guangdong Laboratory of Lingnan Modern Agriculture, Key Laboratory of Synthetic Biology, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Agricultural Genomics Institute at Shenzhen, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Shenzhen 518120, China
3CEFE, University of Montpellier, CNRS, EPHE, IRD, Montpellier 34000, France
4National Key Laboratory of Tropical Crop Breeding, Tropical Crops Genetic Resources Institute, Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences, Haikou 570000, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:,
Both authors contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 11,
Article number: uhad252 (2024)
Views: 27

Received: 25 May 2023
Accepted: 18 Nov 2023
Published online: 27 Nov 2023


The genetic and epigenetic mechanisms underlying the coexistence and coordination of the four diverged subgenomes (ABCD) in octoploid strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa) remains poorly understood. In this study, we have assembled a haplotype-phased gap-free octoploid genome for the strawberry, which allowed us to uncover the sequence, structure, and epigenetic divergences among the subgenomes. The diploid progenitors of the octoploid strawberry, apart from subgenome A (Fragaria vesca), have been a subject of public controversy. Phylogenomic analyses revealed a close relationship between diploid species Fragaria iinumae and subgenomes B, C, and D. Subgenome A, closely related to F. vesca, retains the highest number of genes, exhibits the lowest content of transposable elements (TEs), experiences the strongest purifying selection, shows the lowest DNA methylation levels, and displays the highest expression level compared to the other three subgenomes. Transcriptome and DNA methylome analyses revealed that subgenome A-biased genes were enriched in fruit development biological processes. In contrast, although subgenomes B, C, and D contain equivalent amounts of repetitive sequences, they exhibit diverged methylation levels, particularly for TEs located near genes. Taken together, our findings provide valuable insights into the evolutionary patterns of subgenome structure, divergence and epigenetic dynamics in octoploid strawberries, which could be utilized in strawberry genetics and breeding research.