Linkage-based genome assembly improvement of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis).

Research paper by Ai-Ling AL Ong, Chee-Keng CK Teh, Qi-Bin QB Kwong, Praveena P Tangaya, David Ross DR Appleton, Festo F Massawe, Sean S Mayes

Indexed on: 13 Sep '19Published on: 01 May '19Published in: Scientific Reports


Meiotic crossovers in outbred species, such as oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq., 2n = 32) contribute to allelic re-assortment in the genome. Such genetic variation is usually exploited in breeding to combine positive alleles for trait superiority. A good quality reference genome is essential for identifying the genetic factors underlying traits of interest through linkage or association studies. At the moment, an AVROS pisifera genome is publicly available for oil palm. Distribution and frequency of crossovers throughout chromosomes in different origins of oil palm are still unclear. Hence, an ultrahigh-density genomic linkage map of a commercial Deli dura x AVROS pisifera family was constructed using the OP200K SNP array, to evaluate the genetic alignment with the genome assembly. A total of 27,890 linked SNP markers generated a total map length of 1,151.7 cM and an average mapping interval of 0.04 cM. Nineteen linkage groups represented 16 pseudo-chromosomes of oil palm, with 61.7% of the mapped SNPs present in the published genome. Meanwhile, the physical map was also successfully extended from 658 Mb to 969 Mb by assigning unplaced scaffolds to the pseudo-chromosomes. A genic linkage map with major representation of sugar and lipid biosynthesis pathways was subsequently built for future studies on oil related quantitative trait loci (QTL). This study improves the current physical genome of the commercial oil palm, and provides important insights into its recombination landscape, eventually unlocking the full potential genome sequence-enabled biology for oil palm.