Genome Assembly and Genetic Dissection of a Prominent Drought-resistant Maize Germplasm
Published:27 Feb.2023    Source:Nature

In the context of climate change, drought is one of the most limiting factors that influence crop production. Maize, as a major crop, is highly vulnerable to water deficit, which causes significant yield loss. Thus, identification and utilization of drought-resistant germplasm are crucial for the genetic improvement of the trait. Here we report on a high-quality genome assembly of a prominent drought-resistant genotype, CIMBL55. Genomic and genetic variation analyses revealed that 65 favorable alleles of 108 previously identified drought-resistant candidate genes were found in CIMBL55, which may constitute the genetic basis for its excellent drought resistance. Notably, ZmRtn16, encoding a reticulon-like protein, was found to contribute to drought resistance by facilitating the vacuole H+-ATPase activity, which highlights the role of vacuole proton pumps in maize drought resistance. The assembled CIMBL55 genome provided a basis for genetic dissection and improvement of plant drought resistance, in support of global food security.