PMID: 21551031;PMCID: PMC3166216;Abstract:
Vascular plants appeared ∼410 million years ago, then diverged into several lineages of which only two survive: the euphyllophytes (ferns and seed plants) and the lycophytes. We report here the genome sequence of the lycophyte Selaginella moellendorffii (Selaginella), the first nonseed vascular plant genome reported. By comparing gene content in evolutionarily diverse taxa, we found that the transition from a gametophyte- to a sporophyte-dominated life cycle required far fewer new genes than the transition from a nonseed vascular to a flowering plant, whereas secondary metabolic genes expanded extensively and in parallel in the lycophyte and angiosperm lineages. Selaginella differs in posttranscriptional gene regulation, including small RNA regulation of repetitive elements, an absence of the trans-acting small interfering RNA pathway, and extensive RNA editing of organellar genes.
PMID: 20495794;PMCID: PMC2886086;Abstract:
Local gene duplication is a prominent mechanism of gene copy number expansion. Elucidating the mechanisms by which local duplicates arise is necessary in understanding the evolution of genomes and their host organisms. Chromosome one of Arabidopsis thaliana contains an 81-gene array subdivided into 27 triplet units (t-units), with each t-unit containing three pre-transfer RNA genes. We utilized phylogenetic tree reconstructions and comparative genomics to order the events leading to the array's formation, and propose a model using unequal crossing-over as the primary mechanism of array formation. The model is supported by additional phylogenetic information from intergenic spacer sequences separating each t-unit, comparative analysis to an orthologous array of 12 t-units in the sister taxa Arabidopsis lyrata, and additional modeling using a stochastic simulation of orthologous array divergence. Lastly, comparative phylogenetic analysis demonstrates that the two orthologous t-unit arrays undergo concerted evolution within each taxa and are likely fluctuating in copy number under neutral evolutionary drift. These findings hold larger implications for future research concerning gene and genome evolution. © 2010 The Author(s).