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The genomic and transcriptomic foundations of viviparous seed development in mangroves

By Hongmei Qiao, Xiaoxuan Zhou, Wenyue Su, Pengfei Jin, Xing Zhao, Shanshan He, Wei Hu, Meiping Fu, Dingtian Yu, Saiqi Hao, Yuan-Ye Zhang, Wenqing Wang, Congting Ye, Qingshun Quinn Li, Yingjia Shen

Posted 20 Oct 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.19.346163

Vivipary in plants refers to a specific seed development and reproductive strategy where seeds minimize the dormancy stage and germinate while still attached to their maternal plants. It is one of the most unique adaptive genetic features used by many mangrove species where elongated hypocotyls aid in quick root emergence to anchor the seedling in coastal intertidal wetlands. The genetic mechanisms behind mangrove vivipary, however, remain elusive. Using comparative genomic and transcriptomic technologies to investigate viviparous mangroves and their close inland relatives, we found that a full array of gene expression profiles were altered, including key plant hormone metabolic pathways, high expression of embryonic signature genes, and reduced production of proanthocyanidins and storage proteins. Along with these changes, a major gene regulating seed dormancy, Delay of Germination-1 (DOG1), is entirely missing or defunct within the entire linage of the four genera with true viviparous characteristics. These results suggest a systemic level change is required to warrant the genetic program of mangrove vivipary. Understanding of the molecular processes of vivipary could benefit the design of pregerminated propagules for forestation in harsh environments or prevent precocious germination of grain crops pre- and post-harvest. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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