The ancient Silk Road was opened up for silk trade and were the birth of communication and dissemination between early Eastern and Western civilizations. Although previous studies have shown that domestication of silkworms originated in China from a single domestication event, the detailed domestication process and propagation history of silkworm lines are still unclear. The group of ZHAN Shuai at the CAS Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, in cooperation with others, has done a large-scale resequencing and population genetic analysis of silkworm strains selecting 137 representative silkworm areas reconstructing the evolutionary history of domesticated silkworm strains. The researchers found that Chinese domestication was slow when silkworms spread to European and South Asia. The presently used improved strains used in sericulture production are mainly Chinese and Japanese varieties. Enrichment of amino acid metabolic pathways was a major improvement. Key circadian clock genes were also strongly selected.

CAS news release, July 10, 2018