In a paper appearing in PLOS Genetics, investigators from Huazhong Agricultural University, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and other centers in China and the US outline genomics-based approaches for conserving the wild plant relatives of crop species, focusing on Fortunella hindsii wild kumquat plants related to cultivated citrus plants. With genome resequencing on 73 sexually reproducing or asexual Fortunella accessions, the team characterized population structure in the plants, along with the plants' demographic features, genetic load, inbreeding patterns, and introgression from cultivated plants. Among other patterns, for example, the results point to the potential importance of reproductive patterns used by the plants, which appeared to affect everything from genetic load and introgression patterns to deleterious mutation profiles and genetic diversity. "We found that different patterns of introgression and genetic load may be influenced by reproductive type," the authors write, noting that the work "serves as an example of conservation genomics and the importance of utilizing important wild relatives of crops to inform broader conservation efforts."
Conservation Genomic Study Uncovers Citrus Crop Clues in Wild Plant Relatives
Jun 21, 2023