Multi-omic analyses reveal the unique properties of chia (Salvia hispanica) seed metabolism

Gerardo Alejo-Jacuinde, Héctor Rogelio Nájera-González, Ricardo A. Chávez Montes, Cristian D. Gutierrez Reyes, Alfonso Carlos Barragán-Rosillo, Benjamin Perez Sanchez, Yehia Mechref, Damar López-Arredondo, Lenin Yong-Villalobos, Luis Herrera-Estrella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Chia (Salvia hispanica) is an emerging crop considered a functional food containing important substances with multiple potential applications. However, the molecular basis of some relevant chia traits, such as seed mucilage and polyphenol content, remains to be discovered. This study generates an improved chromosome-level reference of the chia genome, resolving some highly repetitive regions, describing methylation patterns, and refining genome annotation. Transcriptomic analysis shows that seeds exhibit a unique expression pattern compared to other organs and tissues. Thus, a metabolic and proteomic approach is implemented to study seed composition and seed-produced mucilage. The chia genome exhibits a significant expansion in mucilage synthesis genes (compared to Arabidopsis), and gene network analysis reveals potential regulators controlling seed mucilage production. Rosmarinic acid, a compound with enormous therapeutic potential, was classified as the most abundant polyphenol in seeds, and candidate genes for its complex pathway are described. Overall, this study provides important insights into the molecular basis for the unique characteristics of chia seeds.

Original languageEnglish
Article number820
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


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