Genome structure and evolutionary history of frankincense producing Boswellia sacra

Abdul Latif Khan, Ahmed Al-Harrasi, Jin Peng Wang, Sajjad Asaf, Jean Jack M. Riethoven, Tariq Shehzad, Chia Sin Liew, Xiao Ming Song, Daniel P. Schachtman, Chao Liu, Ji Gao Yu, Zhi Kang Zhang, Fan Bo Meng, Jia Qing Yuan, Chen dan Wei, He Guo, Xuewen Wang, Ahmed Al-Rawahi, In Jung Lee, Jeffrey L. BennetzenXi Yin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Boswellia sacra Flueck (family Burseraceae) tree is wounded to produce frankincense. We report its de novo assembled genome (667.8 Mb) comprising 18,564 high-confidence protein-encoding genes. Comparing conserved single-copy genes across eudicots suggest >97% gene space assembly of B. sacra genome. Evolutionary history shows B. sacra gene-duplications derived from recent paralogous events and retained from ancient hexaploidy shared with other eudicots. The genome indicated a major expansion of Gypsy retroelements in last 2 million years. The B. sacra genetic diversity showed four clades intermixed with a primary genotype—dominating most resin-productive trees. Further, the stem transcriptome revealed that wounding concurrently activates phytohormones signaling, cell wall fortification, and resin terpenoid biosynthesis pathways leading to the synthesis of boswellic acid—a key chemotaxonomic marker of Boswellia. The sequence datasets reported here will serve as a foundation to investigate the genetic determinants of frankincense and other resin-producing species in Burseraceae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104574
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 15 2022


  • Evolutionary biology
  • Genomics
  • Plant biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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