Genome Sequence and Analysis of Nicotiana benthamiana, the Model Plant for Interactions between Organisms
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp
Date: February 23, 2023 05:25PM
Nicotiana benthamiana, colloquially known as benth or benthi, is one of the most widely used experimental models in plant science. Now that its complex genome has been almost completely mapped out, plant science research is expected to steeply improve along with the rapid development of more effective experimental methods for the plant.
N. benthamiana is known for its rare ability to successfully graft with plants from different families. However, researchers were unsure how the plant is able to do this. What they do know is that the plant's chromosomes are derived from hybridization, yet its genome structure left them wondering about the state between genes and sequence information on the regulatory regions of gene expression, among others.
Using modern technology, scientists from Nagoya University were able to sequence 95.6% of N. benthamiana's total genome by piecing together 1,668 scaffolds like a jigsaw puzzle. Twenty-one of these were as large as a whole chromosome. This helped them realize that the plant had a complex mixture of genome sequences of interbreeding plant species, which were so interlinked that it was impossible to distinguish among them. It also indicated an ancient origin of hybridization. N. benthamiana was the result of hybridization of the paternal Sylvestres and the maternal Tomentosae plants. Hybridization happened approximately 10 million years ago, and the plant has continued to evolve since then. N. benthamiana and its relative N. tabacum probably diverted 3 to 7 million years ago.
The study was able to provide researchers previously lacking information about N. benthamiana like sequences of the regulatory regions of gene expression, linkage on the chromosome, and the number of genes. These new data will make it easier for researchers to treat the model plant as a subject of research and facilitate the application of Genome editing technology on the plant.
Genome Sequence and Analysis of Nicotiana benthamiana, the Model Plant for Interactions between Organisms | Plant and Cell Physiology | Oxford Academic (oup.com)