ResearchPad - plant-genomes https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Chloroplast genomes of Rubiaceae: Comparative genomics and molecular phylogeny in subfamily Ixoroideae]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11231 In Rubiaceae phylogenetics, the number of markers often proved a limitation with authors failing to provide well-supported trees at tribal and generic levels. A robust phylogeny is a prerequisite to study the evolutionary patterns of traits at different taxonomic levels. Advances in next-generation sequencing technologies have revolutionized biology by providing, at reduced cost, huge amounts of data for an increased number of species. Due to their highly conserved structure, generally recombination-free, and mostly uniparental inheritance, chloroplast DNA sequences have long been used as choice markers for plant phylogeny reconstruction. The main objectives of this study are: 1) to gain insight in chloroplast genome evolution in the Rubiaceae (Ixoroideae) through efficient methodology for de novo assembly of plastid genomes; and, 2) to test the efficiency of mining SNPs in the nuclear genome of Ixoroideae based on the use of a coffee reference genome to produce well-supported nuclear trees. We assembled whole chloroplast genome sequences for 27 species of the Rubiaceae subfamily Ixoroideae using next-generation sequences. Analysis of the plastid genome structure reveals a relatively good conservation of gene content and order. Generally, low variation was observed between taxa in the boundary regions with the exception of the inverted repeat at both the large and short single copy junctions for some taxa. An average of 79% of the SNP determined in the Coffea genus are transferable to Ixoroideae, with variation ranging from 35% to 96%. In general, the plastid and the nuclear genome phylogenies are congruent with each other. They are well-resolved with well-supported branches. Generally, the tribes form well-identified clades but the tribe Sherbournieae is shown to be polyphyletic. The results are discussed relative to the methodology used and the chloroplast genome features in Rubiaceae and compared to previous Rubiaceae phylogenies.

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<![CDATA[Detecting useful genetic markers and reconstructing the phylogeny of an important medicinal resource plant, Artemisia selengensis, based on chloroplast genomics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e90ed5eed0c48496f746

Artemisia selengenesis is not only a health food, but also a well-known traditional Chinese medicine. Only a fraction of the chloroplast (cp) genome data of Artemisia has been reported and chloroplast genomic materials have been widely used in genomic evolution studies, molecular marker development, and phylogenetic analysis of the genus Artemisia, which makes evolutionary studies, genetic improvement, and phylogenetic identification very difficult. In this study, the complete chloroplast genome of A. selengensis was compared with that of other species within Artemisia and phylogenetic analyses was conducted with other genera in the Asteraceae family. The results showed that A. selengensis is an AT-rich species and has a typical quadripartite structure that is 151,215 bp in length. Comparative genome analyses demonstrated that the available chloroplast genomes of species of Artemisia were well conserved in terms of genomic length, GC contents, and gene organization and order. However, some differences, which may indicate evolutionary events, were found, such as a re-inversion event within the Artemisia genus, an unequal duplicate phenomenon of the ycf1 gene because of the expansion and contraction of the IR region, and the fast-evolving regions. Repeated sequences analysis showed that Artemisia chloroplast genomes presented a highly similar pattern of SSR or LDR distribution. A total of 257 SSRs and 42 LDRs were identified in the A. selengensis chloroplast genome. The phylogenetic analysis showed that A. selengensis was sister to A. gmelinii. The findings of this study will be valuable in further studies to understand the genetic diversity and evolutionary history of Asteraceae.

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<![CDATA[Quillworts from the Amazon: A multidisciplinary populational study on Isoetes serracarajensis and Isoetes cangae]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b87837240307c3c45097671

Isoetes are ancient quillworts members of the only genus of the order Isoetales. The genus is slow evolving but is resilient, and widespread worldwide. Two recently described species occur in the Eastern Brazilian Amazon, Isoetes serracarajensis and Isoetes cangae. They are found in the ironstone grasslands known as Canga. While I. serracarajensis is present mostly in seasonal water bodies, I. cangae is known to occur in a single permanent lake at the South mountain range. In this work, we undertake an extensive morphological, physiological and genetic characterization of both species to establish species boundaries and better understand the morphological and genetic features of these two species. Our results indicate that the morphological differentiation of the species is subtle and requires a quantitative assessment of morphological elements of the megaspore for diagnosis. We did not detect differences in microspore output, but morphological peculiarities may establish a reproductive barrier. Additionally, genetic analysis using DNA barcodes and whole chloroplast genomes indicate that although the plants are genetically very similar both approaches provide diagnostic characters. There was no indication of population structuring I. serracarajensis. These results set the basis for a deeper understanding of the evolution of the Isoetes genus.

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<![CDATA[Copy Number Variation and Transcriptional Polymorphisms of Phytophthora sojae RXLR Effector Genes Avr1a and Avr3a]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa4ab0ee8fa60ba6d4e

The importance of segmental duplications and copy number variants as a source of genetic and phenotypic variation is gaining greater appreciation, in a variety of organisms. Now, we have identified the Phytophthora sojae avirulence genes Avr1a and Avr3a and demonstrate how each of these Avr genes display copy number variation in different strains of P. sojae. The Avr1a locus is a tandem array of four near-identical copies of a 5.2 kb DNA segment. Two copies encoding Avr1a are deleted in some P. sojae strains, causing changes in virulence. In other P. sojae strains, differences in transcription of Avr1a result in gain of virulence. For Avr3a, there are four copies or one copy of this gene, depending on the P. sojae strain. In P. sojae strains with multiple copies of Avr3a, this gene occurs within a 10.8 kb segmental duplication that includes four other genes. Transcriptional differences of the Avr3a gene among P. sojae strains cause changes in virulence. To determine the extent of duplication within the superfamily of secreted proteins that includes Avr1a and Avr3a, predicted RXLR effector genes from the P. sojae and the P. ramorum genomes were compared by counting trace file matches from whole genome shotgun sequences. The results indicate that multiple, near-identical copies of RXLR effector genes are prevalent in oomycete genomes. We propose that multiple copies of particular RXLR effectors may contribute to pathogen fitness. However, recognition of these effectors by plant immune systems results in selection for pathogen strains with deleted or transcriptionally silenced gene copies.

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<![CDATA[Transposed Genes in Arabidopsis Are Often Associated with Flanking Repeats]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dac6ab0ee8fa60bb2911

Much of the eukaryotic genome is known to be mobile, largely due to the movement of transposons and other parasitic elements. Recent work in plants and Drosophila suggests that mobility is also a feature of many nontransposon genes and gene families. Indeed, analysis of the Arabidopsis genome suggested that as many as half of all genes had moved to unlinked positions since Arabidopsis diverged from papaya roughly 72 million years ago, and that these mobile genes tend to fall into distinct gene families. However, the mechanism by which single gene transposition occurred was not deduced. By comparing two closely related species, Arabidopsis thaliana and Arabidopsis lyrata, we sought to determine the nature of gene transposition in Arabidopsis. We found that certain categories of genes are much more likely to have transposed than others, and that many of these transposed genes are flanked by direct repeat sequence that was homologous to sequence within the orthologous target site in A. lyrata and which was predominantly genic in identity. We suggest that intrachromosomal recombination between tandemly duplicated sequences, and subsequent insertion of the circular product, is the predominant mechanism of gene transposition.

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<![CDATA[Complete Chloroplast Genome Sequence of Poisonous and Medicinal Plant Datura stramonium: Organizations and Implications for Genetic Engineering]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dacfab0ee8fa60bb58b4

Datura stramonium is a widely used poisonous plant with great medicinal and economic value. Its chloroplast (cp) genome is 155,871 bp in length with a typical quadripartite structure of the large (LSC, 86,302 bp) and small (SSC, 18,367 bp) single-copy regions, separated by a pair of inverted repeats (IRs, 25,601 bp). The genome contains 113 unique genes, including 80 protein-coding genes, 29 tRNAs and four rRNAs. A total of 11 forward, 9 palindromic and 13 tandem repeats were detected in the D. stramonium cp genome. Most simple sequence repeats (SSR) are AT-rich and are less abundant in coding regions than in non-coding regions. Both SSRs and GC content were unevenly distributed in the entire cp genome. All preferred synonymous codons were found to use A/T ending codons. The difference in GC contents of entire genomes and of the three-codon positions suggests that the D. stramonium cp genome might possess different genomic organization, in part due to different mutational pressures. The five most divergent coding regions and four non-coding regions (trnH-psbA, rps4-trnS, ndhD-ccsA, and ndhI-ndhG) were identified using whole plastome alignment, which can be used to develop molecular markers for phylogenetics and barcoding studies within the Solanaceae. Phylogenetic analysis based on 68 protein-coding genes supported Datura as a sister to Solanum. This study provides valuable information for phylogenetic and cp genetic engineering studies of this poisonous and medicinal plant.

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<![CDATA[The Scale of Population Structure in Arabidopsis thaliana]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9feab0ee8fa60b731f3

The population structure of an organism reflects its evolutionary history and influences its evolutionary trajectory. It constrains the combination of genetic diversity and reveals patterns of past gene flow. Understanding it is a prerequisite for detecting genomic regions under selection, predicting the effect of population disturbances, or modeling gene flow. This paper examines the detailed global population structure of Arabidopsis thaliana. Using a set of 5,707 plants collected from around the globe and genotyped at 149 SNPs, we show that while A. thaliana as a species self-fertilizes 97% of the time, there is considerable variation among local groups. This level of outcrossing greatly limits observed heterozygosity but is sufficient to generate considerable local haplotypic diversity. We also find that in its native Eurasian range A. thaliana exhibits continuous isolation by distance at every geographic scale without natural breaks corresponding to classical notions of populations. By contrast, in North America, where it exists as an exotic species, A. thaliana exhibits little or no population structure at a continental scale but local isolation by distance that extends hundreds of km. This suggests a pattern for the development of isolation by distance that can establish itself shortly after an organism fills a new habitat range. It also raises questions about the general applicability of many standard population genetics models. Any model based on discrete clusters of interchangeable individuals will be an uneasy fit to organisms like A. thaliana which exhibit continuous isolation by distance on many scales.

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<![CDATA[Extinction Risk Escalates in the Tropics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da57ab0ee8fa60b8f2bd

The latitudinal biodiversity gradient remains one of the most widely recognized yet puzzling patterns in nature [1]. Presently, the high level of extinction of tropical species, referred to as the “tropical biodiversity crisis”, has the potential to erode this pattern. While the connection between species richness, extinction, and speciation has long intrigued biologists [2], [3], these interactions have experienced increased poignancy due to their relevancy to where we should concentrate our conservation efforts. Natural extinction is a phenomenon thought to have its own latitudinal gradient, with lower extinction rates in the tropics being reported in beetles, birds, mammals, and bivalves [4][7]. Processes that have buffered ecosystems from high extinction rates in the past may also buffer ecosystems against disturbance of anthropogenic origin. While potential parallels between historical and present-day extinction patterns have been acknowledged, they remain only superficially explored and plant extinction patterns have been particularly neglected. Studies on the disappearances of animal species have reached conflicting conclusions, with the rate of extinction appearing either higher [8] or lower [9] in species richness hotspots. Our global study of extinction risk in vascular plants finds disproportionately higher extinction risk in tropical countries, even when indicators of human pressure (GDP, population density, forest cover change) are taken into account. Our results are at odds with the notion that the tropics represent a museum of plant biodiversity (places of historically lowered extinction) and we discuss mechanisms that may reconcile this apparent contradiction.

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<![CDATA[Evolutionary forces affecting synonymous variations in plant genomes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be03d5

Base composition is highly variable among and within plant genomes, especially at third codon positions, ranging from GC-poor and homogeneous species to GC-rich and highly heterogeneous ones (particularly Monocots). Consequently, synonymous codon usage is biased in most species, even when base composition is relatively homogeneous. The causes of these variations are still under debate, with three main forces being possibly involved: mutational bias, selection and GC-biased gene conversion (gBGC). So far, both selection and gBGC have been detected in some species but how their relative strength varies among and within species remains unclear. Population genetics approaches allow to jointly estimating the intensity of selection, gBGC and mutational bias. We extended a recently developed method and applied it to a large population genomic dataset based on transcriptome sequencing of 11 angiosperm species spread across the phylogeny. We found that at synonymous positions, base composition is far from mutation-drift equilibrium in most genomes and that gBGC is a widespread and stronger process than selection. gBGC could strongly contribute to base composition variation among plant species, implying that it should be taken into account in plant genome analyses, especially for GC-rich ones.

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<![CDATA[Broad-Scale Recombination Patterns Underlying Proper Disjunction in Humans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dac6ab0ee8fa60bb29a6

Although recombination is essential to the successful completion of human meiosis, it remains unclear how tightly the process is regulated and over what scale. To assess the nature and stringency of constraints on human recombination, we examined crossover patterns in transmissions to viable, non-trisomic offspring, using dense genotyping data collected in a large set of pedigrees. Our analysis supports a requirement for one chiasma per chromosome rather than per arm to ensure proper disjunction, with additional chiasmata occurring in proportion to physical length. The requirement is not absolute, however, as chromosome 21 seems to be frequently transmitted properly in the absence of a chiasma in females, a finding that raises the possibility of a back-up mechanism aiding in its correct segregation. We also found a set of double crossovers in surprisingly close proximity, as expected from a second pathway that is not subject to crossover interference. These findings point to multiple mechanisms that shape the distribution of crossovers, influencing proper disjunction in humans.

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<![CDATA[RNA-Silencing Enzymes Pol IV and Pol V in Maize: More than one Flavor?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daf9ab0ee8fa60bc40b4 ]]> <![CDATA[Diversity Arrays Technology (DArT) for Pan-Genomic Evolutionary Studies of Non-Model Organisms]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da91ab0ee8fa60ba0364

Background

High-throughput tools for pan-genomic study, especially the DNA microarray platform, have sparked a remarkable increase in data production and enabled a shift in the scale at which biological investigation is possible. The use of microarrays to examine evolutionary relationships and processes, however, is predominantly restricted to model or near-model organisms.

Methodology/Principal Findings

This study explores the utility of Diversity Arrays Technology (DArT) in evolutionary studies of non-model organisms. DArT is a hybridization-based genotyping method that uses microarray technology to identify and type DNA polymorphism. Theoretically applicable to any organism (even one for which no prior genetic data are available), DArT has not yet been explored in exclusively wild sample sets, nor extensively examined in a phylogenetic framework. DArT recovered 1349 markers of largely low copy-number loci in two lineages of seed-free land plants: the diploid fern Asplenium viride and the haploid moss Garovaglia elegans. Direct sequencing of 148 of these DArT markers identified 30 putative loci including four routinely sequenced for evolutionary studies in plants. Phylogenetic analyses of DArT genotypes reveal phylogeographic and substrate specificity patterns in A. viride, a lack of phylogeographic pattern in Australian G. elegans, and additive variation in hybrid or mixed samples.

Conclusions/Significance

These results enable methodological recommendations including procedures for detecting and analysing DArT markers tailored specifically to evolutionary investigations and practical factors informing the decision to use DArT, and raise evolutionary hypotheses concerning substrate specificity and biogeographic patterns. Thus DArT is a demonstrably valuable addition to the set of existing molecular approaches used to infer biological phenomena such as adaptive radiations, population dynamics, hybridization, introgression, ecological differentiation and phylogeography.

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<![CDATA[High-Throughput Sequencing of Arabidopsis microRNAs: Evidence for Frequent Birth and Death of MIRNA Genes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daf8ab0ee8fa60bc39e5

In plants, microRNAs (miRNAs) comprise one of two classes of small RNAs that function primarily as negative regulators at the posttranscriptional level. Several MIRNA genes in the plant kingdom are ancient, with conservation extending between angiosperms and the mosses, whereas many others are more recently evolved. Here, we use deep sequencing and computational methods to identify, profile and analyze non-conserved MIRNA genes in Arabidopsis thaliana. 48 non-conserved MIRNA families, nearly all of which were represented by single genes, were identified. Sequence similarity analyses of miRNA precursor foldback arms revealed evidence for recent evolutionary origin of 16 MIRNA loci through inverted duplication events from protein-coding gene sequences. Interestingly, these recently evolved MIRNA genes have taken distinct paths. Whereas some non-conserved miRNAs interact with and regulate target transcripts from gene families that donated parental sequences, others have drifted to the point of non-interaction with parental gene family transcripts. Some young MIRNA loci clearly originated from one gene family but form miRNAs that target transcripts in another family. We suggest that MIRNA genes are undergoing relatively frequent birth and death, with only a subset being stabilized by integration into regulatory networks.

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<![CDATA[Intraspecific Inversions Pose a Challenge for the trnH-psbA Plant DNA Barcode]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db08ab0ee8fa60bc8f59

Background

The chloroplast trnH-psbA spacer region has been proposed as a prime candidate for use in DNA barcoding of plants because of its high substitution rate. However, frequent inversions associated with palindromic sequences within this region have been found in multiple lineages of Angiosperms and may complicate its use as a barcode, especially if they occur within species.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Here, we evaluate the implications of intraspecific inversions in the trnH-psbA region for DNA barcoding efforts. We report polymorphic inversions within six species of Gentianaceae, all narrowly circumscribed morphologically: Gentiana algida, Gentiana fremontii, Gentianopsis crinita, Gentianopsis thermalis, Gentianopsis macrantha and Frasera speciosa. We analyze these sequences together with those from 15 other species of Gentianaceae and show that typical simple methods of sequence alignment can lead to misassignment of conspecifics and incorrect assessment of relationships.

Conclusions/Significance

Frequent inversions in the trnH-psbA region, if not recognized and aligned appropriately, may lead to large overestimates of the number of substitution events separating closely related lineages and to uniting more distantly related taxa that share the same form of the inversion. Thus, alignment of the trnH-psbA spacer region will need careful attention if it is used as a marker for DNA barcoding.

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<![CDATA[Whole-Gene Positive Selection, Elevated Synonymous Substitution Rates, Duplication, and Indel Evolution of the Chloroplast clpP1 Gene]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daf7ab0ee8fa60bc351a

Background

Synonymous DNA substitution rates in the plant chloroplast genome are generally relatively slow and lineage dependent. Non-synonymous rates are usually even slower due to purifying selection acting on the genes. Positive selection is expected to speed up non-synonymous substitution rates, whereas synonymous rates are expected to be unaffected. Until recently, positive selection has seldom been observed in chloroplast genes, and large-scale structural rearrangements leading to gene duplications are hitherto supposed to be rare.

Methodology/Principle Findings

We found high substitution rates in the exons of the plastid clpP1 gene in Oenothera (the Evening Primrose family) and three separate lineages in the tribe Sileneae (Caryophyllaceae, the Carnation family). Introns have been lost in some of the lineages, but where present, the intron sequences have substitution rates similar to those found in other introns of their genomes. The elevated substitution rates of clpP1 are associated with statistically significant whole-gene positive selection in three branches of the phylogeny. In two of the lineages we found multiple copies of the gene. Neighboring genes present in the duplicated fragments do not show signs of elevated substitution rates or positive selection. Although non-synonymous substitutions account for most of the increase in substitution rates, synonymous rates are also markedly elevated in some lineages. Whereas plant clpP1 genes experiencing negative (purifying) selection are characterized by having very conserved lengths, genes under positive selection often have large insertions of more or less repetitive amino acid sequence motifs.

Conclusions/Significance

We found positive selection of the clpP1 gene in various plant lineages to correlated with repeated duplication of the clpP1 gene and surrounding regions, repetitive amino acid sequences, and increase in synonymous substitution rates. The present study sheds light on the controversial issue of whether negative or positive selection is to be expected after gene duplications by providing evidence for the latter alternative. The observed increase in synonymous substitution rates in some of the lineages indicates that the detection of positive selection may be obscured under such circumstances. Future studies are required to explore the functional significance of the large inserted repeated amino acid motifs, as well as the possibility that synonymous substitution rates may be affected by positive selection.

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<![CDATA[Following Tetraploidy in Maize, a Short Deletion Mechanism Removed Genes Preferentially from One of the Two Homeologs]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da8cab0ee8fa60b9e316

Following genome duplication and selfish DNA expansion, maize used a heretofore unknown mechanism to shed redundant genes and functionless DNA with bias toward one of the parental genomes.

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<![CDATA[The Impact of Outgroup Choice and Missing Data on Major Seed Plant Phylogenetics Using Genome-Wide EST Data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da44ab0ee8fa60b8b004

Background

Genome level analyses have enhanced our view of phylogenetics in many areas of the tree of life. With the production of whole genome DNA sequences of hundreds of organisms and large-scale EST databases a large number of candidate genes for inclusion into phylogenetic analysis have become available. In this work, we exploit the burgeoning genomic data being generated for plant genomes to address one of the more important plant phylogenetic questions concerning the hierarchical relationships of the several major seed plant lineages (angiosperms, Cycadales, Gingkoales, Gnetales, and Coniferales), which continues to be a work in progress, despite numerous studies using single, few or several genes and morphology datasets. Although most recent studies support the notion that gymnosperms and angiosperms are monophyletic and sister groups, they differ on the topological arrangements within each major group.

Methodology

We exploited the EST database to construct a supermatrix of DNA sequences (over 1,200 concatenated orthologous gene partitions for 17 taxa) to examine non-flowering seed plant relationships. This analysis employed programs that offer rapid and robust orthology determination of novel, short sequences from plant ESTs based on reference seed plant genomes. Our phylogenetic analysis retrieved an unbiased (with respect to gene choice), well-resolved and highly supported phylogenetic hypothesis that was robust to various outgroup combinations.

Conclusions

We evaluated character support and the relative contribution of numerous variables (e.g. gene number, missing data, partitioning schemes, taxon sampling and outgroup choice) on tree topology, stability and support metrics. Our results indicate that while missing characters and order of addition of genes to an analysis do not influence branch support, inadequate taxon sampling and limited choice of outgroup(s) can lead to spurious inference of phylogeny when dealing with phylogenomic scale data sets. As expected, support and resolution increases significantly as more informative characters are added, until reaching a threshold, beyond which support metrics stabilize, and the effect of adding conflicting characters is minimized.

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<![CDATA[Reticulate Evolutionary History of a Complex Group of Grasses: Phylogeny of Elymus StStHH Allotetraploids Based on Three Nuclear Genes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da24ab0ee8fa60b80146

Background

Elymus (Poaceae) is a large genus of polyploid species in the wheat tribe Triticeae. It is polyphyletic, exhibiting many distinct allopolyploid genome combinations, and its history might be further complicated by introgression and lineage sorting. We focus on a subset of Elymus species with a tetraploid genome complement derived from Pseudoroegneria (genome St) and Hordeum (H). We confirm the species' allopolyploidy, identify possible genome donors, and pinpoint instances of apparent introgression or incomplete lineage sorting.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We sequenced portions of three unlinked nuclear genes—phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase, β-amylase, and granule-bound starch synthase I—from 27 individuals, representing 14 Eurasian and North American StStHH Elymus species. Elymus sequences were combined with existing data from monogenomic representatives of the tribe, and gene trees were estimated separately for each data set using maximum likelihood. Trees were examined for evidence of allopolyploidy and additional reticulate patterns. All trees confirm the StStHH genome configuration of the Elymus species. They suggest that the StStHH group originated in North America, and do not support separate North American and European origins. Our results point to North American Pseudoroegneria and Hordeum species as potential genome donors to Elymus. Diploid P. spicata is a prospective St-genome donor, though conflict among trees involving P. spicata and the Eurasian P. strigosa suggests either introgression of GBSSI sequences from P. strigosa into North American Elymus and Pseudoroegneria, or incomplete lineage sorting of ancestral GBSSI polymorphism. Diploid H. californicum and/or allotetraploid H. jubatum are possible H-genome donors; direct involvement of an allotetraploid Hordeum species would simultaneously introduce two distinct H genomes to Elymus, consistent with some of the relationships among H-genome sequences in Hordeum and Elymus.

Conclusions/Significance

Comparisons among molecular phylogenetic trees confirm allopolyploidy, identify potential genome donors, and highlight cases of apparent introgression or incomplete lineage sorting. The complicated history of this group emphasizes an inherent problem with interpreting conflicts among bifurcating trees—identifying introgression and determining its direction depend on which tree is chosen as a starting point of comparison. In spite of difficulties with interpretation, differences among gene trees allow us to identify reticulate species and develop hypotheses about underlying evolutionary processes.

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<![CDATA[The IQD Gene Family in Soybean: Structure, Phylogeny, Evolution and Expression]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da15ab0ee8fa60b7b031

Members of the plant-specific IQ67-domain (IQD) protein family are involved in plant development and the basal defense response. Although systematic characterization of this family has been carried out in Arabidopsis, tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), Brachypodium distachyon and rice (Oryza sativa), systematic analysis and expression profiling of this gene family in soybean (Glycine max) have not previously been reported. In this study, we identified and structurally characterized IQD genes in the soybean genome. A complete set of 67 soybean IQD genes (GmIQD167) was identified using Blast search tools, and the genes were clustered into four subfamilies (IQD I–IV) based on phylogeny. These soybean IQD genes are distributed unevenly across all 20 chromosomes, with 30 segmental duplication events, suggesting that segmental duplication has played a major role in the expansion of the soybean IQD gene family. Analysis of the Ka/Ks ratios showed that the duplicated genes of the GmIQD family primarily underwent purifying selection. Microsynteny was detected in most pairs: genes in clade 1–3 might be present in genome regions that were inverted, expanded or contracted after the divergence; most gene pairs in clade 4 showed high conservation with little rearrangement among these gene-residing regions. Of the soybean IQD genes examined, six were most highly expressed in young leaves, six in flowers, one in roots and two in nodules. Our qRT-PCR analysis of 24 soybean IQD III genes confirmed that these genes are regulated by MeJA stress. Our findings present a comprehensive overview of the soybean IQD gene family and provide insights into the evolution of this family. In addition, this work lays a solid foundation for further experiments aimed at determining the biological functions of soybean IQD genes in growth and development.

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<![CDATA[Polyploidization as a Retraction Force in Plant Genome Evolution: Sequence Rearrangements in Triticale]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab2ab0ee8fa60babc50

Background

Polyploidization is a major evolutionary process in plants where hybridization and chromosome doubling induce enormous genomic stress and can generate genetic and epigenetic modifications. However, proper evaluation of DNA sequence restructuring events and the precise characterization of sequences involved are still sparse.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Inter Retrotransposons Amplified Polymorphism (IRAP), Retrotransposons Microsatellite Amplified Polymorphism (REMAP) and Inter Simple Sequence Repeat (ISSR) largely confirmed the absence of any intraspecific variation in wheat, rye and triticale. The comparative analysis of banding profiles between wheat and rye inbred lines revealed 34% of monomorphic (common to both parental species) bands for the ten different primer combinations used. The analysis of triticale plants uncovered nearly 51% of rearranged bands in the polyploid, being the majority of these modifications, due to the loss of rye bands (83%). Sequence analysis of rye fragments absent in triticale revealed for instance homology with hydroxyproline-rich glycoproteins (HRGP), a protein that belongs to a major family of inducible defence response proteins. Conversely, a wheat-specific band absent in triticale comprises a nested structure of copia-like retrotransposons elements, namely Claudia and Barbara. Sequencing of a polyploid-specific band (absent in both parents) revealed a microsatellite related sequence. Cytological studies using Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization (FISH) with REMAP products revealed a widespread distribution of retrotransposon and/or microsatellite flanking sequences on rye chromosomes, with a preferential accumulation in heterochromatic sub-telomeric domains.

Conclusions/Significance

Here, we used PCR-based molecular marker techniques involving retrotransposons and microsatellites to uncover polyploidization induced genetic restructuring in triticale. Sequence analysis of rearranged genomic fragments either from rye or wheat origin showed these to be retrotransposon-related as well as coding sequences. Further FISH analysis revealed possible chromosome hotspots for sequence rearrangements. The role of chromatin condensation on the origin of genomic rearrangements mediated by polyploidization in triticale is also discussed.

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