Biotech Updates

Surprises Discovered in Decoded Kiwifruit Genome

October 23, 2013

A new study that decoded the DNA sequence of the kiwifruit has concluded that the fruit has many genetic similarities between its 39,040 genes and other plant species, including potatoes and tomatoes. One of the study's most remarkable findings was the high percentage of similarities within the kiwifruit DNA. The data revealed two unusual mishaps that occurred in the process of cell division about 27 and 80 million years ago, when an extensive expansion of genes arose from an entire extra copy of the genome, followed by an extensive gene loss.

Zhangjun Fei, a scientist from the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University said that the kiwifruit genome has undergone two recent whole-genome duplication events. Fei adds, "The duplication contributed to adding additional members of gene families that are involved in regulating important kiwifruit characteristics, such as fruit vitamin C, flavonoid and carotenoid metabolism." The scientists compared kiwifruit to the genomes of other representative plant species including tomato, rice, grape and Arabidopsis and uncovered about 8,000 genes that were common among all five species. The comparison revealed important evolutionary relationships, including the development genes related to fruit growth, ripening, nutrient metabolism, and disease resistance.

For more details, read the news release from the Cornell Chronicle available at