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Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Sequence Genome of Broomcorn Millet

February 6, 2019

A research team led by Dr. Zhang Heng and Dr. Zhu Jiankang from Shanghai Center for Plant Stress Biology of Chinese Academy of Sciences has sequenced the genome of broomcorn millet. Broomcorn millet is the most water-efficient cereal and one of the earliest domesticated plants. 

The genome sequence provides the foundation for studying the exceptional stress tolerance as well as C4 biology in broomcorn millet. The researchers report the high-quality, chromosome-scale genome assembly using a combination of short-read sequencing, single-molecule real-time sequencing, Hi-C, and a high-density genetic map. 

Phylogenetic analyses reveal two sets of homologous chromosomes that may have merged ~5.6 million years ago, both of which exhibit strong synteny with other grass species. The researchers report that broomcorn millet contains 55,930 protein-coding genes and 339 microRNA genes. The research group found that enhanced regulation of protein dynamics may have contributed to the evolution of broomcorn millet. In addition, they identified the coexistence of all three C4 subtypes of carbon fixation candidate genes. The genome sequence is a valuable resource for breeders and will provide the foundation for studying the exceptional stress tolerance as well as C4 biology.

For more details, read the research news from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.