Rhododendron henanense subsp. lingbaoense (hereafter referred to as R. henanense) is an endemic species naturally distributed in the Henan province, China, with high horticultural, ornamental and medicinal value. Herein, we report a de novo genome assembly for R. henanense using a combination of PacBio long read and Illumina short read sequencing technologies. In total, we assembled 634.07 Mb with a contig N50 of 2.5 Mb, representing ~96.93% of the estimated genome size. By applying Hi-C data, 13 pseudochromosomes of R. henanense genome were assembled, covering ~98.21% of the genome assembly. The genome was composed of ~65.76% repetitive sequences and 31,098 protein-coding genes, 88.77% of which could be functionally annotated. Rhododendron henanense displayed a high level of synteny with other Rhododendron species from the Hymenanthes subgenus. Our data also suggests that R. henanense genes related to stress responses have undergone expansion, which may underly the unique abiotic and biotic stress resistance of the species. This alpine Rhododendron chromosome-scale genome assembly provides fundamental molecular resources for germplasm conservation, breeding efforts, evolutionary studies, and elucidating the unique biological characteristics of R. henanense.
Keywords: genome sequencing; medicinal plant products; plant evolution; resilient species.
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