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    Description

    Chestnuts (Castanea) are major nut crops in East Asia and southern Europe, and are unique among temperate nut crops in that the harvested seeds are starchy rather than oily. Chestnut species have been cultivated for three millennia or more in China, so it is likely that artificial selection has affected the genome of orchard-grown chestnuts. The genetics of Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima Blume) domestication are also of interest to breeders of hybrid American chestnut, especially if the low-growing, branching habit of Chinese chestnut, an impediment to American chestnut restoration, is partly the result of artificial selection. We resequenced genomes of wild and orchard-derived Chinese chestnuts and identified selective sweeps based on pooled whole-genome SNP datasets. We present candidate gene loci for chestnut domestication and discuss the potential phenotypic effects of candidate loci, some of which may be useful genes for chestnut improvement in Asia and North America. Selective sweeps included predicted genes potentially related to flower phenology and development, fruit maturation, and secondary metabolism, and included some genes homologous to domestication candidates in other woody plants.

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    Citation

    LaBonte, Nicholas R.; Zhao, Peng; Woeste, Keith. 2018. Signatures of Selection in the Genomes of Chinese Chestnut (Castanea mollissima Blume): The Roots of Nut Tree Domestication. Frontiers in Plant Science. 9: 810. 13 p. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2018.00810.

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    Keywords

    chestnut, Fagaceae, crop domestication, Illumina sequencing, nut tree, pool-seq, selective sweep, woody perennial

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