The genome of Cymbidium sinense revealed the evolution of orchid traits

Feng Xi Yang, Jie Gao, Yong Lu Wei, Rui Ren, Guo Qiang Zhang, Chu Qiao Lu, Jian Peng Jin, Ye Ai, Ya Qin Wang, Li Jun Chen, Sagheer Ahmad, Di Yang Zhang, Wei Hong Sun, Wen Chieh Tsai, Zhong Jian Liu, Gen Fa Zhu

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54 Citations (Scopus)


The Orchidaceae is of economic and ecological importance and constitutes ˜10% of all seed plant species. Here, we report a genome physical map for Cymbidium sinense, a well-known species belonging to genus Cymbidium that has thousands of natural variation varieties of flower organs, flower and leaf colours and also referred as the King of Fragrance, which make it arose into a unique cultural symbol in China. The high-quality chromosome-scale genome assembly was 3.52 Gb in size, 29 638 protein-coding genes were predicted, and evidence for whole-genome duplication shared with other orchids was provided. Marked amplification of cytochrome- and photosystem-related genes was observed, which was consistent with the shade tolerance and dark green leaves of C. sinense. Extensive duplication of MADS-box genes, and the resulting subfunctional and expressional differentiation, was associated with regulation of species-specific flower traits, including wild-type and mutant-type floral patterning, seasonal flowering and ecological adaption. CsSEP4 was originally found to positively regulate gynostemium development. The CsSVP genes and their interaction proteins CsAP1 and CsSOC1 were significantly expanded and involved in the regulation of low-temperature-dependent flowering. Important genetic clues to the colourful leaf traits, purple-black flowers and volatile trait in C. sinense were also found. The results provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms of important phenotypic traits of Cymbidium and its evolution and serve as a powerful platform for future evolutionary studies and molecular breeding of orchids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2501-2516
Number of pages16
JournalPlant Biotechnology Journal
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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