A high-quality pseudo-phased genome for Melaleuca quinquenervia shows allelic diversity of NLR-type resistance genes

Stephanie H. Chen, Alyssa M. Martino, Zhenyan Luo, Benjamin Schwessinger, Ashley Jones, Tamene Tolessa, Jason G. Bragg, Peri A. Tobias, Richard J. Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Melaleuca quinquenervia (broad-leaved paperbark) is a coastal wetland tree species that serves as a foundation species in eastern Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and New Caledonia. While extensively cultivated for its ornamental value, it has also become invasive in regions like Florida, USA. Long-lived trees face diverse pest and pathogen pressures, and plant stress responses rely on immune receptors encoded by the nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat (NLR) gene family. However, the comprehensive annotation of NLR encoding genes has been challenging due to their clustering arrangement on chromosomes and highly repetitive domain structure; expansion of the NLR gene family is driven largely by tandem duplication. Additionally, the allelic diversity of the NLR gene family remains largely unexplored in outcrossing tree species, as many genomes are presented in their haploid, collapsed state. Results: We assembled a chromosome-level pseudo-phased genome for M. quinquenervia and described the allelic diversity of plant NLRs using the novel FindPlantNLRs pipeline. Analysis reveals variation in the number of NLR genes on each haplotype, distinct clustering patterns, and differences in the types and numbers of novel integrated domains. Conclusions: The high-quality M. quinquenervia genome assembly establishes a new framework for functional and evolutionary studies of this significant tree species. Our findings suggest that maintaining allelic diversity within the NLR gene family is crucial for enabling responses to environmental stress, particularly in long-lived plants.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbergiad102
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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