Assembly of 23 plastid genomes provides the chloroplast view on Miscanthus origins

Despite its economic importance as a new biofuel resource, little work has been done on the large-scale phylogenetics of Miscanthus. Twenty-three complete Miscanthus chloroplasts were assembled and annotated. A phylogeny was performed with these assemblies, which shows the relationships between the main Miscanthus species and sub-species. The phylogeny demonstrates that there is no meaningful distinction between Miscanthus floridulus and Miscanthus transmorrisonensis as the accessions are not distinct.

However, at the crown of the tree there is a clear distinction between M. sinensis malepartus and M. sinensis condensatus subspecies. The phylogeny reaveals that the female parent of Miscanthus xgiganteus is Miscanthus lutarioriparius rather than Miscanthus sacchariflorus. The phylogeny also shows a novel hybrid between Miscanthus oligostachyus and Miscanthus sinensis, a grouping to which Miscanthus sinensis var Purpurascens belongs. This hybrid form is named Miscanthus ×oligostachyus.

Authors: Dyfed Lloyd Evans