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Genetic basis of high aroma and stress tolerance in the oolong tea cultivar genome

  • Wang, Pengjie1
  • Yu, Jiaxin2, 3
  • Jin, Shan1
  • Chen, Shuai2, 3
  • Yue, Chuan1
  • Wang, Wenling3
  • Gao, Shuilian1
  • Cao, Hongli1
  • Zheng, Yucheng1
  • Gu, Mengya1
  • Chen, Xuejin1
  • Sun, Yun1
  • Guo, Yuqiong1
  • Yang, Jiangfan1
  • Zhang, Xingtan2, 3
  • Ye, Naixing1
  • 1 Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University/Key Laboratory of Tea Science in Universities of Fujian Province, Fuzhou, 350002, China , Fuzhou (China)
  • 2 Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Shenzhen, 518120, China , Shenzhen (China)
  • 3 Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou, 350002, China , Fuzhou (China)
Published Article
Horticulture Research
Nature Publishing Group UK
Publication Date
May 01, 2021
DOI: 10.1038/s41438-021-00542-x
Springer Nature


Tea plants (Camellia sinensis) are commercially cultivated in >60 countries, and their fresh leaves are processed into tea, which is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. Although several chromosome-level tea plant genomes have been published, they collapsed the two haplotypes and ignored a large number of allelic variations that may underlie important biological functions in this species. Here, we present a phased chromosome-scale assembly for an elite oolong tea cultivar, “Huangdan”, that is well known for its high levels of aroma. Based on the two sets of haplotype genome data, we identified numerous genetic variations and a substantial proportion of allelic imbalance related to important traits, including aroma- and stress-related alleles. Comparative genomics revealed extensive structural variations as well as expansion of some gene families, such as terpene synthases (TPSs), that likely contribute to the high-aroma characteristics of the backbone parent, underlying the molecular basis for the biosynthesis of aroma-related chemicals in oolong tea. Our results uncovered the genetic basis of special features of this oolong tea cultivar, providing fundamental genomic resources to study evolution and domestication for the economically important tea crop.

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