PLANT GENOMICS

An olive branch for sequencing

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Science  03 Nov 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6363, pp. 605
DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6363.605-a

Ancient gene duplications differentiate olives from their relative sesame.

PHOTO: JOANNATKACZUK/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Olives are a major component of the Mediterranean diet, especially consumed as olive oil, which may provide health benefits. Unver et al. investigated the composition of the genome of the oleaster (wild olive) tree, the ancestor of cultivated olive trees, and characterized its transcriptome. Evolutionary analyses indicate that the oleaster genome contains multiple signatures of ancestral genome duplication events (paleopolyploidy) after divergence from its close relative, sesame, another oil-producing plant. Comparison of genes in the oil-biosynthetic pathways of oleaster and sesame revealed differences in gene expression resulting from the genome and gene duplications. These differences appear to explain the occurrence of oleic acid in olive and linoleic acid in sesame.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1708621114 (2017).

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