Article Highlight | 5-Jun-2024

Unlocking the genetic secrets of cabbage: key inversions suppress recombination for crop improvement

Nanjing Agricultural University The Academy of Science

Recent study has uncovered the pivotal role of chromosomal inversions in suppressing recombination and preserving key genotypes in cabbage. This discovery is set to revolutionize our understanding of plant genetics and breeding strategies, offering a pathway to enhance crop traits and resilience.

Chromosomal inversions are structural variations that play a significant role in suppressing genetic recombination, thereby fixing favorable allelic combinations. These inversions are crucial for maintaining coadapted genotypes and are involved in species evolution. In rice and tomato, similar inversions have been identified, highlighting their importance in plant genetics. Due to these challenges, it is essential to conduct in-depth research on chromosomal inversions to enhance our understanding of their mechanisms and applications in crop improvement. Based on these challenges, a detailed study on chromosomal inversions in cabbage was necessary.

A recent study (DOI: 10.1093/hr/uhae030) conducted by the State Key Laboratory of Vegetable Biobreeding at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the State Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Germplasm Enhancement at Nanjing Agricultural University has been published in the journal Horticulture Research on January 30, 2024. This research, focusing on the yellow–green leaf mutant YL-1 in cabbage, has identified two large chromosomal inversions that significantly suppress recombination.

The study investigates the genetic mechanisms of the yellow–green leaf mutant YL-1 in cabbage, identifying two significant chromosomal inversions, INV1 and INV2, on chromosome 1 within the BoYgl-1 locus. These inversions cause severe recombination suppression, crucial for fixing key genotypes in cabbage breeding. Chlorophyll and carotenoid contents were significantly reduced in YL-1 compared to the normal-green leaf A192, impacting photosynthetic efficiency. Using advanced genomic technologies, including Illumina, PacBio, and Hi-C sequencing, the YL-1 genome was assembled and compared with the TO1000 reference genome. These inversions, found in 44 out of 195 cabbage lines, highlight their evolutionary significance.

Dr. Fengqing Han, a leading scientist at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, stated, "The discovery of these large chromosomal inversions opens up new possibilities for genetic research and breeding in cabbage. Understanding the mechanisms of recombination suppression will enable us to develop more resilient and commercially valuable cabbage varieties."

The research offers tools for breeders to develop cabbage varieties with better disease resistance, nutritional content, and climate adaptability. Understanding recombination suppression can create stable genotypes with beneficial traits, paving the way for similar studies in other crops, transforming agriculture and food security.





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Funding information

Funding for this work was provided with the NIFA Award 2016-70016-24844 and 2016 10974 and USDA-ARS base funds.

About Horticulture Research

Horticulture Research is an open access journal of Nanjing Agricultural University and ranked number one in the Horticulture category of the Journal Citation Reports ™ from Clarivate, 2022. The journal is committed to publishing original research articles, reviews, perspectives, comments, correspondence articles and letters to the editor related to all major horticultural plants and disciplines, including biotechnology, breeding, cellular and molecular biology, evolution, genetics, inter-species interactions, physiology, and the origination and domestication of crops.

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