Globe Artichoke Genome Sequenced
The globe artichoke genome (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus L.; 2n=2x=34), of which Italy is the leading producing has been recently sequenced by an international Consortium including the University of Torino (DISAFA, Italy, team leader Sergio Lanteri), the University of California (The Genome Center, Davis, CA, USA, team leader Richard Michelmore) and the Università di Catania (Di3A, Italy, team leader Giovanni Mauromicale) in the framework of the Compositae Genome Project (CGP).
The project started in 2011 and later on was joined by the University of British Columbia (Canada, team leader Loren Rieseberg) and Crea (Genomics Research Centre, Fiorenzuola d'Arda, Italy, team leader Luigi Cattivelli). The sequence has been recently published in Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group) at http://www.nature.com/articles/srep19427.
The globe artichoke was domesticated in the Mediterranean region, and Italy which is the top producing country, harbours the richest primary gene pool. The primary food product of globe artichoke is the immature inflorescence (head or capitulum), but it is also a source of bio-active compounds and can be exploited for the production of lignocellulosic biomass and seed oil for both edible and biofuel purposes.
The globe artichoke genome assembly covers 725 of the 1,084 Mb genome and codes for about 27,000 genes, which were also structurally and functionally annotated. A new pipeline (SOILoCo, Scaffold Ordering by Imputation with Low Coverage) was used to anchor the assembled genome to the 17 chromosomal pseudomolecules. The understanding of the genome structure of globe artichoke is fundamental to the molecular deciphering of complex traits and will facilitate the identification of economically important genes from related species.