In Nature this week, an international team presents a reference genome for the eucalyptus tree Eucalyptus grandis. They also report a comparison of the genome to sequences from forest trees and domesticated woody plants, and re-sequenced plants from both E. grandis and a sister species grown in temperate climates. They found that the eucalyptus genome displays the greatest number of tandem duplications of any plant genome sequenced so far, and that the duplications have appear to have prioritized genes for wood formation. The plant also has the highest diversity of genes for producing various essential oils. GenomeWeb Daily News has more on the eucalyptus genome here.
Meanwhile, in Nature Genetics, researchers from the University of Georgia, the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, and elsewhere report a reference genome for the common bean, Phaseolus vulgaris L., and the results of a genome-wide analysis of dual domestications. Using resequencing of 60 wild individuals and 100 landraces from genetically differentiated Mesoamerican and Andean gene pools, they confirmed two independent domestications from genetic pools that diverged before human colonization. They also identified a set of genes linked with increased leaf and seed size. "[T]hese findings provide information on regions of the genome that have undergone intense selection, either during domestication or early improvement, and thus provide targets for future crop improvement efforts, as valuable alleles will have been lost during early selection," the researchers note.