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Wascher, FL; Stralis-Pavese, N; McGrath, JM; Schulz, B; Himmelbauer, H; Dohm, JC.
(2022): Genomic distances reveal relationships of wild and cultivated beets
NAT COMMUN. 2022; 13(1), 2021 FullText FullText_BOKU

While a large amount of genomic resources is available, the phylogeny of wild and cultivated beets remains unclear. Here, the authors use the k-mer-based Mash method to analyze resequenced genomes of 606 accessions of the genus Beta and reveal Greece as the domestication site of sugar beet. Cultivated beets (Beta vulgaris ssp. vulgaris), including sugar beet, rank among the most important crops. The wild ancestor of beet crops is the sea beet Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima. Species and subspecies of wild beets are readily crossable with cultivated beets and are thus available for crop improvement. To study genomic relationships in the genus Beta, we sequence and analyse 606 beet genomes, encompassing sugar beet, sea beet, B. v. adanensis, B. macrocarpa, and B. patula. We observe two genetically distinct groups of sea beets, one from the Atlantic coast and the other from the Mediterranean area. Genomic comparisons based on k-mers identify sea beets from Greece as the closest wild relatives of sugar beet, suggesting that domestication of the ancestors of sugar beet may be traced to this area. Our work provides comprehensive insight into the phylogeny of wild and cultivated beets and establishes a framework for classification of further accessions of unknown (sub-)species assignment.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Dohm Juliane
Himmelbauer Heinz
Sandell Felix Leopold
Stralis-Pavese Nancy

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