Genome sequence of the lager brewing yeast, an interspecies hybrid

Yoshihiro Nakao*, Takeshi Kanamori, Takehiko Itoh, Yukiko Kodama, Sandra Rainieri, Norihisa Nakamura, Tomoko Shimonaga, Masahira Hattori, Toshihiko Ashikari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

227 Citations (Scopus)


This work presents the genome sequencing of the lager brewing yeast (Saccharomyces pastorianus) Weihenstephan 34/70, a strain widely used in lager beer brewing. The 25 Mb genome comprises two nuclear sub-genomes originating from Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces bayanus and one circular mitochondrial genome originating from S. bayanus. Thirty-six different types of chromosomes were found including eight chromosomes with translocations between the two sub-genomes, whose breakpoints are within the orthologous open reading frames. Several gene loci responsible for typical lager brewing yeast characteristics such as maltotriose uptake and sulfite production have been increased in number by chromosomal rearrangements. Despite an overall high degree of conservation of the synteny with S. cerevisiae and S. bayanus, the syntenies were not well conserved in the sub-telomeric regions that contain lager brewing yeast characteristic and specific genes. Deletion of larger chromosomal regions, a massive unilateral decrease of the ribosomal DNA cluster and bilateral truncations of over 60 genes reflect a post-hybridization evolution process. Truncations and deletions of less efficient maltose and maltotriose uptake genes may indicate the result of adaptation to brewing. The genome sequence of this interspecies hybrid yeast provides a new tool for better understanding of lager brewing yeast behavior in industrial beer production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-129
Number of pages15
JournalDNA Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Beer
  • Genome
  • Interspecies hybrid
  • Larger yeast
  • Saccharomyces pastorianus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Medicine(all)


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