Genomics Proteomics Bioinformatics. 2022 Aug 30:S1672-0229(22)00100-0. doi: 10.1016/j.gpb.2022.08.005. Online ahead of print.
Multiple plant lineages have independently evolved sex chromosomes and variable karyotypes to maintain their sessile lifestyles through constant biological innovation. Morus notabilis, a dioecious mulberry species, has the fewest chromosomes among Morus spp., but the genetic basis of sex determination and karyotype evolution in this species has not been identified. Three high-quality genome assemblies generated for Morus spp. (including dioecious M. notabilis and Morus yunnanensis) were 301-329 Mb in size and were grouped into six pseudochromosomes. Using a combination of genomic approaches, we showed that the putative ancestral karyotype of Morus was close to 14 protochromosomes, and that several chromosome fusion events resulted in descending dysploidy (2n = 2x = 12). We also characterized an ∼6.2-Mb sex-determining region on chromosome 3. Four potential male-specific genes, namely, a partially duplicatedDNA helicase gene orthologue (named MSDH) and three Ty3_Gypsy long terminal repeat retrotransposons (named MSTG), were solely identified in the Y-linked area and considered to be strong candidate genes for sex determination or differentiation. Population genomic analysis showed that Guangdong accessions in China were genetically similar to Japanese accessions of mulberry. In addition, genomic areas containing selective sweeps that distinguish domesticated mulberry from wild populations in terms of flowering and disease resistance were identified. Our findings provide an important genetic resource for sex identification and molecular breeding in mulberry.