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Sequencing of Chinese castor lines reveals genetic signatures of selection and yield-associated loci

Oil produced by castor (Ricinus communis) has broad industrial applications. However, knowledge on the genetic diversity, especially genetic alterations that occurred during domestication and subsequent traits selection, of this oil crop is limited. Here, our population genomics analyses show that the Chinese castors have developed a geographic pattern, classified into the southern-, the middle-, and the northern-China groups. We detect a number of candidate genomic loci that are associated with the selection signals during the geographical differentiation and domestication. Using genome-wide association analysis, we identify candidate genes associated with nine agronomically important traits. One of the candidate genes encoding a glycosyltransferase related to cellulose and lignin biosynthesis is associated with both capsule dehiscence and endocarp thickness. We hypothesize that the abundance of cellulose or lignin in endocarp is an important factor for capsule dehiscence. Our results provide foundation for castor breeding and genetic study.

Nature Communications volume 10, Article number: 3418 (2019)

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