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.