The release of the tea (Camellia sinensis) genome completes the set of the three major caffeine-producing plants (also coffee and cacao). (Note that the title of this article refers to the “tea tree”, a name that is often used for a different plant, Melaleuca alternifolia, the source of tea tree oil; the genome described here is of the tea beverage plant). Key findings include an expansion of genes involved in the synthesis of flavonoids that contribute to tea flavor. The data also show that caffeine synthesis evolved separately in tea as from coffee and cacao. Xia et al. point out that this is the first genome in the genus Camellia, which of course includes horticultural as well as oil-bearing species. Mol. Plant 10.1016/j.molp.2017.04.002
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