The Taxus genome provides insights into paclitaxel biosynthesis

The ancient gymnosperm genus Taxus is the exclusive source of the anticancer drug paclitaxel, yet no reference genome sequences are available for comprehensively elucidating the paclitaxel biosynthesis pathway. We have completed a chromosome-level genome of Taxus chinensis var. mairei with a total length of 10.23 gigabases. Taxus shared an ancestral whole-genome duplication with the coniferophyte lineage and underwent distinct transposon evolution.


Fig: Genomic features of T. chinensis var. mairei

We discovered a unique physical and functional grouping of CYP725As (cytochrome P450) in theTaxus genome for paclitaxel biosynthesis. We also identified a gene cluster for taxadiene biosynthesis, which was formed mainly by gene duplications. This study will facilitate the elucidation of paclitaxel biosynthesis and unleash the biotechnological potential of Taxus.

Xiong, X., Gou, J., Liao, Q. et al. The Taxus genome provides insights into paclitaxel biosynthesis. Nat. Plants (2021).

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