Scientific Reports


Transcriptional changes during ovule development in two genotypes of litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) with contrast in seed size


Litchi chinensis is a subtropical fruit crop, popular for its nutritional value and taste. Fruits with small seed size and thick aril are desirable in litchi. To gain molecular insight into gene expression that leads to the reduction in the size of seed in Litchi chinensis, transcriptomes of two genetically closely related genotypes, with contrasting seed size were compared in developing ovules. The cDNA library constructed from early developmental stages of ovules (0, 6, and 14 days after anthesis) of bold- and small-seeded litchi genotypes yielded 303,778,968 high quality paired-end reads. These were de-novo assembled into 1,19,939 transcripts with an average length of 865 bp. A total of 10,186 transcripts with contrast in expression were identified in developing ovules between the small- and large- seeded genotypes. A majority of these differences were present in ovules before anthesis, thus suggesting the role of maternal factors in seed development. A number of transcripts indicative of metabolic stress, expressed at higher level in the small seeded genotype. Several differentially expressed transcripts identified in such ovules showed homology with Arabidopsis genes associated with different stages of ovule development and embryogenesis.


Ashish K. Pathak, Sudhir P. Singh, Yogesh Gupta, Anoop K. S. Gurjar, Shrikant S. Mantri & Rakesh Tuli

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