Crowhurst et al. / BMC Genomics, 2008
One large fruit of kiwi contains the daily norm of vitamin C. Scientists have found out that to synthesize such large amounts of this vitamin the plant began after it had twice a partial doubling of the genome. As reported in an article published in iScience , it occurred 50-57 million and 18-20 million years ago.
Kiwi (or Chinese gooseberry) – fruits of cultivated plants of the genus Actinidia ( Actinidia) . Endemics of northern and eastern China, wild fruits of kiwi have been used for medical purposes since at least the 12th century. But to cultivate these plants began much later. At the beginning of the 20th century, kiwi was brought to New Zealand, where they began to be cultivated purposefully. During the Second World War, kiwi was popular with British and American soldiers who served in the country, and in the 1960s it was first brought to Britain and then to the United States.
In 100 grams of kiwi pulp (or in one large fruit) contains more daily vitamin C – about 93 milligrams. Chinese geneticists and biologists led by Xiyin Wang from the North China University of Science and Technology found out why such a large amount of this vitamin is produced in the fruits of kiwi. To do this, scientists analyzed the already known kiwi genome ( Actinidia chinensis ) and compared the kiwi DNA with the genomes of their distant relatives, grapes and coffee.
As a result, it turned out that the last common ancestor of kiwi and grapes grew approximately 102-115 million years ago, and the common ancestor of kiwi and coffee – 74-83 million years ago. Also, scientists found that 50-57 million and 18-20 million years ago there was a partial doubling of the kiwi genome. In particular, the genes associated with the biosynthesis of vitamin C doubled. So in the end, their number in the kiwi genome was 3.5-6.5 times greater than in the genomes of grape coffee.
Previously, geneticists followed the evolutionary history of the opium poppy. It turned out that the morphine plant was developed relatively recently, about eight million years ago.