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Vegetable oils are an indispensable nutritional component of the human diet as well as important raw materials for a variety of industrial applications such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, oleochemicals, and biofuels. Oil plant genomes are highly diverse, and their genetic variation leads to a diversity in oil biosynthesis and accumulation along with agronomic traits. This review discusses plant oil biosynthetic pathways, current state of genome assembly, polyploidy and asymmetric evolution of genomes of oil plants and their wild relatives, and research progress of pan-genomics in oil plants. The availability of complete high-resolution genomes and pan-genomes has enabled the identification of structural variations in the genomes that are associated with the diversity of agronomic and environment fitness traits. These and future genomes also provide powerful tools to understand crop evolution and to harvest the rich natural variations to improve oil crops for enhanced productivity, oil quality, and adaptability to changing environments. © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:


Jia-Ming Song, Yuting Zhang, Zhi-Wei Zhou, Shaoping Lu, Wei Ma, Chaofu Lu, Ling-Ling Chen, Liang Guo. Oil plant genomes: current state of the science. Journal of experimental botany. 2022 May 13;73(9):2859-2874

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PMID: 35560205

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