The persimmon genome reveals clues to the evolution of a lineage-specific sex determination system in plants

We developed a reference genome for Diospyros lotus (diploid persimmon) to further investigate the evolutionary steps that lead to dioecy in this system. Using this new genome assembly, we were able to identify a species-specific whole-genome duplication (WGD) event, as well as add to our understanding of the sex determination system in persimmon (published previously here in Science), by identifying a third homolog of MeGI and OGI, called Sister-of-MeGI (SiMeGI), originating from a local duplication event. Our data suggests that this WGD event initiated the evolution of the current sex determination system and further highlights the role of gene duplications on the transition between sexual systems.

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