Newswise — A research team has provided an overview for understanding the genetic basis of ornamental and cold resistance traits in Mei (Prunus mume), a tree valued both for its ornamental and cultural significance in China. By employing cutting-edge biotechnological approaches, including whole-genome sequencing and resequencing, scientists have laid a solid foundation for targeted breeding programs. These advancements promise to greatly enhance the efficiency of breeding Mei trees with distinctive characteristics and high resistance, aligning with both aesthetic and practical needs in contemporary horticulture.

Genomics, which delves into the complete genetic blueprint of organisms, has revolutionized plant science by overcoming challenges like large, complex genomes. The pioneering Arabidopsis genome sequence in 2, 000 spurred advancements in sequencing technologies, leading to the sequencing of approximately 400 plant genomes, including Mei (Prunus mume). This progress has enriched our understanding of genetic variation and aided breeding technologies. However, further research is needed to decode the specific genetic mechanisms influencing the ornamental and functional traits of Mei for enhanced breeding applications.

study (DOI: 10.48130/opr-0024-0004) published in Ornamental Plant Research on 04 March 2024, provides a comprehensive overview of the development and expansion of genome projects over the past decade, highlighting advances in whole-genome sequencing, resequencing, and genetic mapping.

This review highlights the completion of the Mei genome project, which has catalyzed research into the genetic underpinnings of ornamental and cold resistance traits in this culturally significant tree. Through advanced genomic techniques, researchers have delineated the complex genetic network influencing traits such as flower fragrance, color variation, and cold hardiness. This includes the identification of key gene families like benzyl alcohol acetyltransferase (BEAT), which influences Mei's unique floral scent, and cold-resistance genes. The review underscores the implications of these discoveries for breeding programs, emphasizing the potential to develop Mei cultivars with enhanced ornamental qualities and environmental adaptability.

According to the study's lead researcher, Prof. Lidan Sun, “The efforts to improve genetic makeup will continue to be greatly impacted by this new information and the resources that are now available.” This foundational genetic insight is set to revolutionize Mei breeding, making it possible to meet aesthetic and practical goals more efficiently.





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Dongqing Fan1# , Runtian Miao2# , Wenjuan Lv1 , Zhenying Wen2 ,Juan Meng2 , Xu Liu2 , Tangren Cheng2 , Qixiang Zhang2 and Lidan Sun2*


1 College of Biological Sciences and Technology, Center for Computational Biology, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China

2 State Key Laboratory of Efficient Production of Forest Resources, Beijing Key Laboratory of Ornamental Plants Germplasm Innovation and Molecular Breeding, National Engineering Research Center for Floriculture, Beijing Laboratory of Urban and Rural Ecological Environment, School of Landscape Architecture, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China

Journal Link: Ornamental Plant Research´╝îMarch 2024