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Open Access Research article

Anthocyanin biosynthetic genes in Brassica rapa

Ning Guo, Feng Cheng, Jian Wu, Bo Liu, Shuning Zheng, Jianli Liang and Xiaowu Wang*

Author Affiliations

Institute of Vegetables and Flowers, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Zhongguancun Nandajie No.12, Haidian district, Beijing 100081, P. R. China

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BMC Genomics 2014, 15:426  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-426

Published: 4 June 2014

Abstract

Background

Anthocyanins are a group of flavonoid compounds. As a group of important secondary metabolites, they perform several key biological functions in plants. Anthocyanins also play beneficial health roles as potentially protective factors against cancer and heart disease. To elucidate the anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway in Brassica rapa, we conducted comparative genomic analyses between Arabidopsis thaliana and B. rapa on a genome-wide level.

Results

In total, we identified 73 genes in B. rapa as orthologs of 41 anthocyanin biosynthetic genes in A. thaliana. In B. rapa, the anthocyanin biosynthetic genes (ABGs) have expanded and most genes exist in more than one copy. The anthocyanin biosynthetic structural genes have expanded through whole genome and tandem duplication in B. rapa. More structural genes located upstream of the anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway have been retained than downstream. More negative regulatory genes are retained in the anthocyanin biosynthesis regulatory system of B. rapa.

Conclusions

These results will promote an understanding of the genetic mechanism of anthocyanin biosynthesis, as well as help the improvement of the nutritional quality of B. rapa through the breeding of high anthocyanin content varieties.

Keywords:
Comparative genomics; Anthocyanin biosynthetic genes; Whole genome duplication; Brassica rapa; Cruciferae