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Genome assembly, population genomics and associative mapping in Attalea Kunth., an important genus of native palms from the neotropical region

Grant number: 21/10319-0
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: June 01, 2022 - May 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany
Principal Investigator:Maria Imaculada Zucchi
Grantee:Maria Imaculada Zucchi
Host Institution: Agência Paulista de Tecnologia dos Agronegócios (APTA). Secretaria de Agricultura e Abastecimento (São Paulo - Estado). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers: Alessandra Selbach Schnadelbach ; Cássio van den Berg ; Claudia Barros Monteiro Vitorello


The recent progress in new sequencing technologies has fomented projects with the goal of obtaining the genome sequence of non-model organisms. Despite its economical and ecological importance, several groups of plants are underrepresented in those efforts, particularly the group of palms. In the Arecaceae family, the genus Attalea is specially important because of the ecological plasticity, economical importance and high hybridization rate of its species. The species of Attalea from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest (BAF)belong to a clade of seven species, four of which are distributed in the central zone of this biome: Attalea funifera, Attalea oleifera, Attalea humilis e Attalea pindobassu. The firstthree species are thought to be involved in three different hybridization events (Attalea xpiassabossu, Attalea x salvadorensis and Attalea x voeksii). The central zone of the BAFwas strongly influenced by climatic and sea level changes during the Tertiary and Quaternary periods, which probably influenced speciation and demographic processes in Attalea. Among these species, A. funifera, popularly known as piaçava, stands out due to the economic value of its fibers, although the value of this product has been decreasing due to the lack of technological support. Furthermore, this species presents a peculiar system of sexual determination, its individuals are capable of producing male, female and hermaphrodite in-florescences in response to environmental factors. In this context, this project intends to:sequence and assemble the genome of A. funifera; collect, characterize morphologically and genotypically with SNPs individuals of the four species of Attalea from the central zone of the BAF and their putative hybrid zones; and perform studies of genotype-phenotype association in cultivated populations of piaçava for fiber and fruit oil traits. Therefore, this project will use this group as a model to improve the current understanding of hybridization in palms, to test biogeographical hypothesis concerning the processes that modulated the biodiversity in the Neotropics, explore the potential of natural populations to investigate the genetic architecture of economically relevant traits and to understand the evolution of sexual determination systems in palms. (AU)

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