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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Tracing the evolution of the floral homeotic B- and C-function genes through genome synteny.

The evolution of the floral homeotic genes has been characterized using phylogenetic and functional studies. It is possible to enhance these studies by comparing gene content and order between species to determine the evolutionary history of the regulatory genes. Here, we use a synteny-based approach to trace the evolution of the floral B- and C-function genes that are required for specification of the reproductive organs. Consistent with previous phylogenetic studies, we show that the euAP3-TM6 split occurred after the monocots and dicots diverged. The Arabidopsis TM6 and papaya euAP3 genes are absent from the respective genomes, and we have detected loci from which these genes were lost. These data indicate that either the TM6 or the euAP3 lineage genes can be lost without detriment to flower development. In contrast, PI is essential for male reproductive organ development; yet, contrary to predictions, complex genomic rearrangements have resulted in almost complete breakdown of synteny at the PI locus. In addition to showing the evolution of B-function genes through the prediction of ancestral loci, similar reconstructions reveal the origins of the C-function AG and PLE lineages in dicots, and show the shared ancestry with the monocot C-function genes. During our studies, we found that transposable elements (TEs) present in sequenced Antirrhinum genomic clones limited comparative studies. A pilot survey of the Antirrhinum data revealed that gene-rich regions contain an unusually high degree of TEs of very varied types, which will be an important consideration for future genome sequencing efforts.[1]


  1. Tracing the evolution of the floral homeotic B- and C-function genes through genome synteny. Causier, B., Castillo, R., Xue, Y., Schwarz-Sommer, Z., Davies, B. Mol. Biol. Evol. (2010) [Pubmed]
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