Plant Evolution

Genomics trace plant gene evolution

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Science  30 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6345, pp. 1347
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6345.1347-a

Spatial separation of hormones across cells facilitates temperature-mediated initiation of seed germination.

PHOTO: JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE SOURCE

MADS-box genes have essential functions in plant development and morphology. However, in plants, as a result of multiple rounds of whole-genome duplications combined with specific gene gains and losses, the relationships and evolution of this gene family have been difficult to trace. Zhao et al. applied a network-based phylogenetic analysis examining synteny—the location of genes and their relative position within the genome—across all identified MADS-box genes from 51 plant species. Through this analysis, the relationships, approximate timing, gains and losses, and specific movements of these genes within the genome could be traced. This allows for a better understanding of how evolution has acted on a key regulatory gene family in the plant kingdom.

Plant Cell 10.1105/tpc.17.00312 (2017).

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