Finger Millet: A “Certain” Crop for an “Uncertain” Future and a Solution to Food Insecurity and Hidden Hunger under Stressful Environments
Coffee trees (Rubiaceae) and tomato (Solanaceae) belong to the Asterid clade, while grapevine (Vitaceae) belongs to the Rosid clade. Coffee and tomato separated from grapevine 125 million years ago, while coffee and tomato diverged 83-89 million years ago. These long periods of divergent evolution should have permitted the genomes to reorganize significantly. So far, very few comparative mappings have been performed between very distantly related species belonging to different clades. We report the first multiple comparison between species from Asterid and Rosid clades, to examine both macro-and microsynteny relationships. Thanks to a set of 867 COSII markers, macrosynteny was detected between coffee, tomato and grapevine. While coffee and tomato genomes share 318 orthologous markers and 27 conserved syntenic segments (CSSs), coffee and grapevine also share a similar number of syntenic markers and CSSs: 299 and 29 respectively. Despite large genome macrostructure reorganization, several large chromosome segments showed outstanding macrosynteny shedding new insights into chromosome evolution between Asterids and Rosids. We also analyzed a sequence of 174 kb containing the ovate gene, conserved in a syntenic block between coffee, tomato and grapevine that showed a high-level of microstructure conservation. A higher level of conservation was observed between coffee and grapevine, both woody and long life-cycle plants, than between coffee and tomato. Out of 16 coffee genes of this syntenic segment, 7 and 14 showed complete synteny between coffee and tomato or grapevine, respectively. These results show that significant conservation is found between distantly related species from the Asterid (Coffea canephora and Solanum sp.) and Rosid (Vitis vinifera) clades, at the genome macrostructure and microstructure levels. At the ovate locus, conservation did not decline in relation to increasing phylogenetic distance, suggesting that the time factor alone does not explain divergences. Our results are considerably useful for syntenic studies between supposedly remote species for the isolation of important genes for agronomy.