Gene salad: First comprehensive genome assembly of lettuce reveals ‘treasure-trove of genetic information’

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UC Davis researchers announced in Nature Communications that they have unlocked a treasure-trove of genetic information about lettuce and related plants, releasing the first comprehensive genome assembly for lettuce and the huge Compositae plant family.

With an annual on-farm value of more than $2.4 billion, it is the most valuable fresh vegetable and one of the 10 most valuable crops, overall, in the United States.

The genome assembly — a compilation of millions of DNA sequences into a useful genetic portrait — provides researchers with a valuable tool for exploring Compositae family’s many related plant species.

“This genome assembly provides the foundation for numerous further genetic, evolutionary and functional studies of this whole family of plants,” said Reyes-Chin-Wo, the lead author and graduate student in the laboratory of plant geneticist Richard Michelmore.

“This is particularly significant because Compositae is the most successful family of flowering plants on earth in terms of the number of species and environments inhabited,” said Richard Michelmore, who directs the UC Davis Genome Center.

[Read the full study here]

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