Chinese scientists unlock tea plant genome

Chinese researchers announced yesterday that they were able to sequence the genome of the evergreen shrub Camellia sinensis, known as tea plant, for the first time.

"There are many varied aromas, but mystery is what determines or what is the genetic basis of tea flavors?" Lizhi Gao, genetic geneticist of the Kunming Institute of Botany in China and lead author of the study published in the journal Molecular Plant, said in Xinhua.

"We believe that sequencing the genome of the tea tree would help solve these problems."

Gao became the first scientist to do such a work in 2010, and even with a modern sequencing, the genome assembly took his team over five years.

It has been found that the genome of the tea tree is much larger than originally expected, reports Xinhua.

At 3.02 billion base pairs in length, it is more than four times the size of the coffee plant genome and much larger than most sequenced plant species.

Tea is one of the world's oldest and most important non-alcoholic beverages containing caffeine, and the tea tree was domesticated originally in the south West of China. An estimated three billion people around the world drink tea.

"So our realization of the genome sequencing of the tea tree brings the biology of tea trees out of the black which will greatly help the breeders of the world to breed new varieties with a more diversified tea taste without Pesticide residues and will also help to potentiate medicinal uses. "Said Gao, who has been called a" good tea drinker "for a long time.

"We hope that more new tea cultivars will finally satisfy and attract more tea drinkers around the world"

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