Taiwan researchers construct endemic orchid genetic linkage map

2018/06/28 19:50:53 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
CNA file photo

CNA file photo

Taipei, June 28 (CNA) A research team from Academia Sinica recently constructed a genetic linkage map for Phalaenopsis aphrodite -- a variety of Phalaenopsis indigenous to Taiwan, which is expected to boost the local orchid industry, the institute announced in a press release Thursday.

Dr. Shih Ming-che (施明哲), a distinguished research fellow, and his team at the institute's Agricultural Biotechnology Center, have successfully compiled a high-quality chromosome-scale assembly of the P. aphrodite genome, according to the statement.

The orchid species Phalaenopsis aphrodite is native to Taiwan and has a beautiful and bigger flower and stalk shape, which Shih said makes it an important breeding parent for many commercial orchid hybrids.

In the future, growers will be able to cultivate "high-end designer orchids" using the same molecular breeding techniques, Shih said.

For instance, growers could cultivate tailor-made Phalaenopsis varieties with unique colors and scents for European customers, he added.

Chromosome-level assembly and genetic and physical mapping of the Phalaenopsis aphrodite genome also provides new insights into species adaptation and as such will be an unprecedented resource for genomics-assisted orchid breeding, the statement said.

The growth cycle of orchids can be two to three years and the traditional breeding method is time-consuming, energy-consuming, and has a lower success rate.

As the local orchid-growing industry has sought to stimulate consumer demand in the global market, it has moved toward using molecular breeding techniques to generate desirable new varieties, the statement said.

Against such a background, the appearance of the new variety is likely to give the industry a new lease of life.

Basic information about Taiwan orchid genetics can identify important molecular markers, establish high-density genetic linkage maps, and accurately design new generations of orchids with attractive genetic traits, it explained.

At the same time, because the quality reference genome and genetic map of Phalaenopsis aphrodite provide new insights into orchid genome architecture, they will also serve as a crucial resource for orchid breeding, species conservation and comparative genomic studies. They could also be applied to the production of other crops, it added.

The work was published in the Plant Biotechnology Journal on April 28, the statement noted.

(By Yu Hsiao-han and Flor Wang)

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