Drying without dying: A genome database for desiccation-tolerant plants and evolution of desiccation tolerance

Bei Gao, Xiaoshuang Li, Yuqing Liang, Moxian Chen, Huiliang Liu, Yinggao Liu, Jiancheng Wang, Jianhua Zhang, Yuanming Zhang, Melvin J Oliver, Daoyuan Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Desiccation is typically fatal, but a small number of land plants have evolved vegetative desiccation tolerance (VDT), allowing them to dry without dying through a process called anhydrobiosis. Advances in sequencing technologies have enabled the investigation of genomes for desiccation-tolerant plants over the past decade. However, a dedicated and integrated database for these valuable genomic resources has been lacking. Our prolonged interest in VDT plant genomes motivated us to create the "Drying without Dying" database, which contains a total of 16 VDT-related plant genomes (including 10 mosses) and incorporates 10 genomes that are closely related to VDT plants. The database features bioinformatic tools, such as blast and homologous cluster search, sequence retrieval, Gene Ontology term and metabolic pathway enrichment statistics, expression profiling, co-expression network extraction, and JBrowser exploration for each genome. To demonstrate its utility, we conducted tailored PFAM family statistical analyses, and we discovered that the drought-responsive ABA transporter AWPM-19 family is significantly tandemly duplicated in all bryophytes but rarely so in tracheophytes. Transcriptomic investigations also revealed that response patterns following desiccation diverged between bryophytes and angiosperms. Combined, the analyses provided genomic and transcriptomic evidence supporting a possible divergence and lineage-specific evolution of VDT in plants. The database can be accessed at http://desiccation.novogene.com. We expect this initial release of the "Drying without Dying" plant genome database will facilitate future discovery of VDT genetic resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2249-2262
Number of pages14
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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