Healthy roots and leaves: comparative genome structure of horseradish and watercress

Mandáková T, Lysak MA

Plant Physiology 179: 66-73.


Horseradish and watercress are economically important cruciferous vegetable species with limited genomic resources. We used comparative chromosome painting to reveal the extent of chromosomal collinearity between horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) and watercress (Nasturtium officinale), and to reconstruct the origin and evolution of the two tetraploid genomes (2n = 4x = 32). Horseradish and watercress genomes originated from a common ancestral (n = 8) genome, structurally resembling the Ancestral Crucifer Karyotype (n = 8), which however contained two unique translocation chromosomes (AK6/8 and AK8/6). Except for a 2.4-Mb unequal chromosome translocation in watercress, both genomes are identical structurally. The structural similarity of two parental subgenomes might suggest an autotetraploid origin of horseradish and watercress genomes. The subgenome stasis, apart from the single chromosome translocation, indicates that homeologous recombination played a limited role in post-polyploid evolution in both tetraploid genomes. The octoploid genome of one-row watercress (N. microphyllum, 2n = 8x = 64), structurally mirroring the tetraploid horseradish and watercress genomes, originated via autopolyploidization from the immediate tetraploid predecessor of watercress or hybridization between this and another now-extinct tetraploid Nasturtium species. Comparative cytogenomic maps in horseradish and watercress represent a first stepping stone for the future whole-genome sequencing efforts and genetic improvement of both crop species.