Transcriptome sequencing can be used to determine gene sequences and transcript abundance in non-model species, and the advent of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies has greatly decreased the cost and time required for this process. Transcriptome data are especially desirable in bamboo species, as certain members constitute an economically and culturally important group of mostly semelparous plants with remarkable flowering features, yet little bamboo genomic research has been performed. Here we present, for the first time, extensive sequence and transcript abundance data for the floral transcriptome of a key bamboo species, Dendrocalamus latiflorus, obtained using the Illumina GAII sequencing platform. Our further goal was to identify patterns of gene expression during bamboo flower development.
Approximately 96 million sequencing reads were generated and assembled de novo, yielding 146,395 high quality unigenes with an average length of 461 bp. Of these, 80,418 were identified as putative homologs of annotated sequences in the public protein databases, of which 290 were associated with the floral transition and 47 were related to flower development. Digital abundance analysis identified 26,529 transcripts differentially enriched between two developmental stages, young flower buds and older developing flowers. Unigenes found at each stage were categorized according to their putative functional categories. These sequence and putative function data comprise a resource for future investigation of the floral transition and flower development in bamboo species.
Our results present the first broad survey of a bamboo floral transcriptome. Although it will be necessary to validate the functions carried out by these genes, these results represent a starting point for future functional research on D. latiflorus and related species.