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Research Explores the Wonders of Plant Evolution: Unveiling the Genome of Watershield


Brasenia schreberi, commonly known as watershield, is a solitary representative of its genus. It thrives as a perennial freshwater aquatic plant in diverse regions spanning America, Africa, Australasia, and Asia. The plant's most distinctive characteristic is its production of a dense mucilage covering on its juvenile leaf undersides and buds. This mucilage, a gelatinous matrix primarily composed of polysaccharides called pectins, serves various functions, from shielding against herbivory to acting as a natural antibacterial agent.

In order to uncover the genetic intricacies of this species, researchers from Wuhan Botanical Garden successfully assembled a high-quality genome sequence for B. schreberi through a fusion of PacBio, Illumina, and Hi-C technologies. It deepens the understanding of the intricate mechanisms behind this plant's unique features.

This genomic masterpiece spans 1,170.4 Mb, revealing a plethora of insights into the plant's biology. Notably, the study identifies 74,699 fully annotated protein-coding gene models.

By decoding its genome, the study paves the way for comprehensive conservation strategies. The genome provides a roadmap for understanding the species' population genetics, aiding in its protection and restoration.

Additionally, the genomic exploration of this basal angiosperm offers a unique opportunity to delve into the early evolutionary history of flowering plants. This resource not only enriches the understanding of plant evolution but also unveils the molecular underpinnings of mucilage secretion. This insight holds potential for enhancing plant breeding efforts in aquatic agriculture.

Results entitled “Chromosome-level genome assembly of watershield (Brasenia schreberi) ” were published in Scientific data.

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