Chromosome-level genome assembly of milk thistle ( Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn.)

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Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn., commonly known as milk thistle, is a medicinal plant belonging to the Asteraceae family. This plant has been recognized for its medicinal properties for over 2,000 years. However, the genome of this plant remains largely undiscovered, having no reference genome at a chromosomal level. Here, we assembled the chromosome-level genome of S. marianum , allowing for the annotation of 53,552 genes and the identification of transposable elements comprising 58% of the genome. The genome assembly from this study showed 99.1% completeness as determined by BUSCO assessment, while the previous assembly (ASM154182v1) showed 36.7%. Functional annotation of the predicted genes showed 50,329 genes (94% of total genes) with known protein functions in public databases. Comparative genome analysis among Asteraceae plants revealed a striking conservation of collinearity between S. marianum and C. cardunculus . The genomic information generated from this study will be a valuable resource for milk thistle breeding and for use by the larger research community.

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