The Chimonanthus salicifolius genome provides insight into magnoliids evolution and flavonoids biosynthesis

Qundan Lv, Jie Qiu, Jie Liu, Zheng Li, Wenting Zhang, Qin Wang, Jie Fang, Junjie Pan, Zhengdao Chen, Wenliang Cheng, Michael S. Barker, Xuehui Huang, Xin Wei, Kejun Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Chimonanthus salicifolius, a member of the Calycanthaceae of magnoliids, is one of the most famous medicinal plants in Eastern China. Here, we report a chromosome-level genome assembly of C. salicifolius, comprising 820.1 Mb of genomic sequence with a contig N50 of 2.3 Mb and containing 36 651 annotated protein-coding genes. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that magnoliids were sister to the eudicots. Two rounds of ancient whole-genome duplication were inferred in the C. salicifolious genome. One is shared by Calycanthaceae after its divergence with Lauraceae, and the other is in the ancestry of Magnoliales and Laurales. Notably, long genes with > 20 kb in length were much more prevalent in the magnoliid genomes compared with other angiosperms, which could be caused by the length expansion of introns inserted by transposon elements. Homologous genes within the flavonoid pathway for C. salicifolius were identified, and correlation of the gene expression and the contents of flavonoid metabolites revealed potential critical genes involved in flavonoids biosynthesis. This study not only provides an additional whole-genome sequence from the magnoliids, but also opens the door to functional genomic research and molecular breeding of C. salicifolius.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1910-1923
Number of pages14
JournalPlant Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Chimonanthus salicifolius
  • de novo genome assembly
  • evolution
  • gene expression
  • long genes
  • magnoliids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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