Citrus genomics

Text - scientific article/review article


Citrus fruits (sweet orange, mandarin, pummelo, grapefruit, lemon, lime and assorted hybrids) are among the most widely grown and economically important fruit tree crops in the world. As fresh fruit, they are an important and nutrient dense food source for human diets; as processed juice products, primarily sweet orange juice, they represent a globally traded commodity. To support genetic improvement efforts for this important crop, the international citrus genetics community has collaborated with international sequencing centers in the development of freely available genomic resources, some of which are described herein. Most notable, two full-length annotated genome assemblies have been produced and made available to the global research community. The first genome, based exclusively on Sanger sequencing, is from a haploid plant derived from 'Clementine' mandarin, to serve as the reference genome for citrus. A second genome assembly was produced from the sweet orange clone 'Ridge Pineapple', this was done primarily with 454 technology. Extensive EST datasets and a number of microarray platforms for exploring the transcriptomic responses of citrus species and hybrids to a wide range of conditions have been shared, to support exploitation and utilization of genome sequence information. As many researchers in the citrus genomics community are also actively engaged in genetic improvement programs, there has been a natural integration of improvement efforts with the rapidly evolving genomic tools. Examples described below include work designed to better understand the control of gene expression in citrus polyploids, which are being used in development of seedless triploid selections or as rootstocks; unraveling the molecular mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions to devise novel genetic strategies to overcome a multitude of devastating diseases that currently threaten citrus production globally; and the mining of SSR and SNP markers for linkage studies to enable marker-assisted parental selection and breeding strategies, illustrated by work on two citrus traits, nucellar embryony and juvenility, which significantly impact breeding approaches. Citrus genome resources are available through publicly available web portals, through the USDOE-JGI ( and Tree Fruit Genome Database Resources (tfGDR, Work is continuing to expand and improve the citrus genome sequence resources and tools, to enable application of sequence-derived knowledge in improving citrus plants and to managing better their interactions with biotic and abiotic factors.


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  • Citrus sp.
  • Citrus trifoliata
  • Xylella fastidiosa


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