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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Northern red oak (Quercus rubra L.) is an ecologically and economically important forest tree native to North America. We present a chromosome-scale genome of Q. rubra generated by the combination of PacBio sequences and chromatin conformation capture (Hi-C) scaffolding. This is the first reference genome from the red oak clade (section Lobatae). The Q. rubra assembly spans 739 Mb with 95.27% of the genome in 12 chromosomes and 33,333 protein-coding genes. Comparisons to the genomes of Quercus lobata and Quercus mongolica revealed high collinearity, with intrachromosomal structural variants present. Orthologous gene family analysis with other tree species revealed that gene families associated with defense response were expanding and contracting simultaneously across the Q. rubra genome. Quercus rubra had the most CC-NBS-LRR and TIR-NBS-LRR resistance genes out of the 9 species analyzed. Terpene synthase gene family comparisons further reveal tandem gene duplications in TPS-b subfamily, similar to Quercus robur. Phylogenetic analysis also identified 4 subfamilies of the IGT/LAZY gene family in Q. rubra important for plant structure. Single major QTL regions were identified for vegetative bud break and marcescence, which contain candidate genes for further research, including a putative ortholog of the circadian clock constituent cryptochrome (CRY2) and 8 tandemly duplicated genes for serine protease inhibitors, respectively. Genome–environment associations across natural populations identified candidate abiotic stress tolerance genes and predicted performance in a common garden. This high-quality red oak genome represents an essential resource to the oak genomic community, which will expedite comparative genomics and biological studies in Quercus species.

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© The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Genetics Society of America. Publisher’s version of record:

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G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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