A high-quality genome assembly of quinoa provides insights into the molecular basis of salt bladder-based salinity tolerance and the exceptional nutritional value.Cell Res. 2017 Nov; 27(11):1327-1340.CR
Chenopodium quinoa is a halophytic pseudocereal crop that is being cultivated in an ever-growing number of countries. Because quinoa is highly resistant to multiple abiotic stresses and its seed has a better nutritional value than any other major cereals, it is regarded as a future crop to ensure global food security. We generated a high-quality genome draft using an inbred line of the quinoa cultivar Real. The quinoa genome experienced one recent genome duplication about 4.3 million years ago, likely reflecting the genome fusion of two Chenopodium parents, in addition to the γ paleohexaploidization reported for most eudicots. The genome is highly repetitive (64.5% repeat content) and contains 54 438 protein-coding genes and 192 microRNA genes, with more than 99.3% having orthologous genes from glycophylic species. Stress tolerance in quinoa is associated with the expansion of genes involved in ion and nutrient transport, ABA homeostasis and signaling, and enhanced basal-level ABA responses. Epidermal salt bladder cells exhibit similar characteristics as trichomes, with a significantly higher expression of genes related to energy import and ABA biosynthesis compared with the leaf lamina. The quinoa genome sequence provides insights into its exceptional nutritional value and the evolution of halophytes, enabling the identification of genes involved in salinity tolerance, and providing the basis for molecular breeding in quinoa.