Globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus, Asteraceae, 2n=2x=34, genome = 1,06 Gb) is a multi-use crop. Other than producing immature inflorescences used as a vegetable, it is exploited as a source of inulin and bio-active compounds such as phenolics (mono- and di-caffeoylquinic acids, flavonoids) and sesquiterpene lactones (cynaropicrin, grosheimin), the latter being responsible for its peculiar bitter taste. Both globe artichoke and its related taxa cultivated cardoon (C. cardunculus var. altilis) are also grown as ornamentals and for the production of lignocellulosic biomass and seeds rich in oil of good alimentary quality and exploitable for biodiesel production. We recently released the first globe artichoke reference genome sequence (www.artichokegenome.unito.it), which includes about 28,000 genes. Following the re-sequencing of an F1 segregating progeny (globe artichoke x cultivated cardoon), 73% of the assembled genome was anchored to 17 chromosomal pseudomolecules. We also performed the re-sequencing of four globe artichoke genotypes, which are representative of the core varietal types in cultivation, and a genotype of cultivated cardoon. Their genomes were reconstructed at chromosomal scale and analogous numbers of genes were predicted, while distinctive variations in miRNAs and resistance genes (RGAs) were identified. Among the 23,5M spotted SNPs, some were predicted to influence the biological functions of genes involved in phenolics and sesquiterpene lactones biosynthesis. The publicly available genomic resources represent key tools to dissect the path from sequence variation to phenotype and key information for assisting molecular breeding for quality traits, as well as for future genome editing projects.
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