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Towards A Catalog Of Pome Tree Architecture Genes: The Draft ‘d’Anjou’ Genome (Pyrus Communis L.)

Huiting Zhang, Eric K. Wafula, Jon Eilers, Alex E. Harkess, Paula E. Ralph, Prakash Raj Timilsena, Claude W. dePamphilis, Jessica M. Waite, Loren A. Honaas

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AbstractThe rapid development of sequencing technologies has led to a deeper understanding of horticultural plant genomes. However, experimental evidence connecting genes to important agronomic traits is still lacking in most non-model organisms. For instance, the genetic mechanisms underlying plant architecture are poorly understood in pome fruit trees, creating a major hurdle in developing new cultivars with desirable architecture, such as dwarfing rootstocks in European pear (Pyrus communis). Further, the quality and content of genomes vary widely. Therefore, it can be challenging to curate a list of genes with high-confidence gene models across reference genomes. This is often an important first step towards identifying key genetic factors for important traits. Here we present a draft genome of P. communis ‘d’Anjou’ and an improved assembly of the latest P. communis ‘Bartlett’ genome. To study gene families involved in tree architecture in European pear and other rosaceous species, we developed a workflow using a collection of bioinformatic tools towards curation of gene families of interest across genomes. This lays the groundwork for future functional studies in pear tree architecture. Importantly, our workflow can be easily adopted for other plant genomes and gene families of interest.