Chinese scientists have completed high-quality genome sequencing of Camellia sinensis var. sinensis, known as the Chinese-type tea plant, which sheds light upon the genes that determine tea quality and diversity.
The study was jointly conducted by the tea plant biology laboratory of east China's Anhui Agricultural University, Shenzhen-based BGI Genomics Institute, and the National Center for Gene Research under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The results showed that divergence of tea plants and kiwifruit lineages occurred about 80 million years ago, while divergence between the two major tea plant groups -- the Chinese-type and Camellia sinensis var. assamica, known as the Assam type -- is calculated to 380,000 to 1.54 million years ago.
This genome sequence will facilitate understanding of tea plant evolution, and will help to breed improved tea varieties, experts said.