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Population genomics of apricots unravels domestication history and adaptive events

Nature Communications 2021
Groppi A. et al

Among crop fruit trees, the apricot (Prunus armeniaca) provides an excellent model to study divergence and adaptation processes. Here, we obtain nearly 600 Armeniaca apricot genomes and four high-quality assemblies anchored on genetic maps. Chinese and European apricots form two differentiated gene pools with high genetic diversity, resulting from independent domestication events from distinct wild Central Asian populations, and with subsequent gene flow. A relatively low proportion of the genome is affected by selection. Different genomic regions show footprints of selection in European and Chinese cultivated apricots, despite convergent phenotypic traits, with predicted functions in both groups involved in the perennial life cycle, fruit quality and disease resistance. Selection footprints appear more abundant in European apricots, with a hotspot on chromosome 4, while admixture is more pervasive in Chinese cultivated apricots. Our study provides clues to the biology of selected traits and targets for fruit tree research and breeding.

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