Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Sequence Apostasia Orchid Genome

September 20, 2017

An international team of researchers has sequenced the genome of the orchid Apostasia shenzhenica, an orchid type found in Southeast China. The researchers used 10x genomics scaffolding to conduct both short and long-read sequencing to develop a genome sequence of the plant. They also used the results of their work to compare the plant with other orchids in order to isolate parts that were the same versus those that were different using transcriptome data.

The research team found that A. shenzhenica belongs to the family of orchids, and that large parts of the genome were virtual copies of those of other orchid types. They also found that it split off from other orchids millions of years ago, close to the time when orchids first came to exist. It was also found that orchids underwent a major extinction period after which the plants differentiated and subsequently evolved into five subfamilies. The researchers suggest that it was during this period that features such as the famous "lip" developed.

More details are available in the open access paper in Nature.