Chia (Salvia hispanica) is a functional food crop for humans. Although its seeds contain high omega-3 fatty acids, the seed yield of chia is still low. Genomic resources available for this plant are limited. We report the first high-quality chromosome-level genome sequence of chia. The assembled genome size was 347.6 Mb and covered 98.1% of the estimated genome size. A total of 31 069 protein-coding genes were predicted. The absence of recent whole-genome duplication and the relatively low intensity of transposable element expansion in chia compared to its sister species contribute to its small genome size. Transcriptome sequencing and gene duplication analysis reveal that the expansion of the fab2 gene family is likely to be related to the high content of omega-3 in seeds. The white seed coat color is determined by a single locus on chromosome 4. This study provides novel insights into the evolution of Salvia species and high omega-3 content, as well as valuable genomic resources for genetic improvement of important commercial traits of chia and its related species.
A chromosome-level genome assembly of chia provides insights into high omega-3 content and coat color variation of its seeds
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