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NCKU transnational research team completes first orchid genome sequence

Tainan, Taiwan, November 25, 2014

A transnational research team led by the Distinguished Professor Dr. Hong-Hwa Chen from the Department of Life Sciences at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) has completed the first orchid genome sequence, Phalaenopsis equestris, the university announced at a press conference in Taipei on November 25.

A total of 13 research institutes and 38 researchers from Taiwan, China, Belgium, and France are involved in the study.

The genome sequence of Phalaenopsis equestris can be applied to marker-assisted breeding in Taiwan orchid industry to enhance its international competitiveness, according to Prof. Chen.

Prof. Chen said, the assembled genome of Phalaenopsis equestris is 1.16 Gb, containing 29,431 predicted protein-coding genes.

This study titled “The genome sequence of the orchid Phalaenopsis equestris” is published in Nature Genetics on November 24, 2014, and has been chosen as the cover article.

According to Prof. Chen, the genome sequence of Phalaenopsis equestris will shed light on the mystery of orchid evolution and how the orchid explore new ecological niches, which might lead to the adaptive radiation.

She indicated that MADS-box B-class AP3, C/D-class, E and AGL6 subfamilies of MADS-box genes have been expanded in Phalaenopsis genome.

Following sequence and expression diversification, the expanded genes obtained new function and re-integrated the developmental programs of the orchid flower, according to Prof. Chen.

She said, these processes lead to the morphological key innovation of orchid lip and column.

She also noted that with an estimated 25,000 species, the family of Orchidaceae is the most species rich of all angiosperm families. New orchid species are continually discovered till now.

Orchids are known for their diversity of specialized reproductive and ecological strategies which have fascinated scientists for centuries.

Phalaenopsis orchids are the most popular pot horticultural plants, and Taiwan occupies the most important position for supplying Phalaenopsis orchids worldwide.

The annual output value of Phalaenopsis orchid in Taiwan is about 8 billion NT dollars, according to Prof. Chen.
Provider : News Center
Date : 103.11.25
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