The genome and gene editing system of sea barleygrass provide a novel platform for cereal domestication and stress tolerance studies

Liuhui Kuang, Qiufang Shen, Liyang Chen, Lingzhen Ye, Tao Yan, Zhong-Hua Chen, Robbie Waugh, Qi Li, Lu Huang, Shengguan Cai, Liangbo Fu, Pengwei Xing, Kai Wang, Jiari Shao, Feibo Wu, Lixi Jiang, Dezhi Wu (Lead / Corresponding author), Guoping Zhang (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
73 Downloads (Pure)


The tribe Triticeae provides important staple cereal crops and contains elite wild species with wide genetic diversity and high tolerance to abiotic stresses. Sea barleygrass (Hordeum marinum Huds.), a wild Triticeae species, thrives in saline marshlands and is well known for its high tolerance to salinity and waterlogging. Here, a 3.82-Gb high-quality reference genome of sea barleygrass is assembled de novo, with 3.69 Gb (96.8%) of its sequences anchored onto seven chromosomes. In total, 41 045 high-confidence (HC) genes are annotated by homology, de novo prediction, and transcriptome analysis. Phylogenetics, non-synonymous/synonymous mutation ratios (Ka/Ks), and transcriptomic and functional analyses provide genetic evidence for the divergence in morphology and salt tolerance among sea barleygrass, barley, and wheat. The large variation in post-domestication genes (e.g. IPA1 and MOC1) may cause interspecies differences in plant morphology. The extremely high salt tolerance of sea barleygrass is mainly attributed to low Na+ uptake and root-to-shoot translocation, which are mainly controlled by SOS1, HKT, and NHX transporters. Agrobacterium-mediated transformation and CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing systems were developed for sea barleygrass to promote its utilization for exploration and functional studies of hub genes and for the genetic improvement of cereal crops.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100333
Number of pages16
JournalPlant Communications
Issue number5
Early online date5 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sept 2022


  • divergence
  • genome
  • salt tolerance
  • sea barleygrass
  • transcriptome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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