Chinese plum genome sequence paves way for fruit development

Researchers from Chinas Beijing Forestry University have recorded the first genome sequence for Prunus mume, commonly known as the Chinese plum

The study published online in Nature Communications explained that Prunus mume was one of the first of its sub-family to have been sequenced.

It claimed that understanding the fruit’s make up could serve as a stepping stone to better evaluate the overall Rosaceae family, an umbrella for more than 100 genera and 3,000 species.

Rosaceae, the rose family, is considered the third most economically important plant family in temperate regions, the report informed. Fruits from the family contribute to an array of fresh, dried, juiced and processed products.

The family has been characterised by rapid evolution and a recent divergence of genera. The phenotypic diversity has made it difficult to identify common morphological traits.

To break down the makeup of the plant, domesticated more than 3,000 years ago in China, the research team followed the ancestral Rosaceae genome and evaluated three key genera: Prunus, Malus and Fragaria. Nine ancestral chromosomes of the Rosaceae family were reconstructed through the process.

They found 1,154 candidate genes for Prunus mume that defined characteristics like flowering scent, flowering time and disease resistance.

The genome will help scientists and breeders better understand overall Rosaceae genomes, including their rapid evolution and genetic diversity.