UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Transcriptome Assembly of the Bast Fiber Crop, Ramie, Boehmeria nivea (L.) Gaud. (Urticaceae) Al-Ani, Louay; Deyholos, Michael K.

Abstract

Ramie (Boehmeria nivea) is a perennial crop valued for its strong bast fibers. Unlike other major bast fiber crops, ramie fiber processing does not include retting, but does require degumming, suggesting distinctive features in pectin and the development and composition of fibers. A comprehensive transcriptome assembly of ramie has not been made available, to date. We obtained the sequence of RNA transcripts (RNA Seq) from the apical region of developing ramie stems and combined these with reads from public databases for a total of 157,621,051 paired-end reads (30.3 billion base pairs Gbp) used as input for de novo assembly, resulting in 70,721 scaffolds (≥200 base pairs (bp); N₅₀ = 1798 bp). As evidence of the quality of the assembly, 36,535 scaffolds aligned to at least one Arabidopsis protein (BLASTP e-value ≤ 10⁻¹⁰). The resource described here for B. nivea will facilitate an improved understanding of bast fibers, cell wall, and middle lamella development in this and other comparative species.

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