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1.  Complete plastome sequence of Thalictrum coreanum (Ranunculaceae) and transfer of the rpl32 gene to the nucleus in the ancestor of the subfamily Thalictroideae 
BMC Plant Biology  2015;15:40.
Plastids originated from cyanobacteria and the majority of the ancestral genes were lost or functionally transferred to the nucleus after endosymbiosis. Comparative genomic investigations have shown that gene transfer from plastids to the nucleus is an ongoing evolutionary process but molecular evidence for recent functional gene transfers among seed plants have only been documented for the four genes accD, infA, rpl22, and rpl32.
The complete plastid genome of Thalictrum coreanum, the first from the subfamily Thalictroideae (Ranunculaceae), was sequenced and revealed the losses of two genes, infA and rpl32. The functional transfer of these two genes to the nucleus in Thalictrum was verified by examination of nuclear transcriptomes. A survey of the phylogenetic distribution of the rpl32 loss was performed using 17 species of Thalictrum and representatives of related genera in the subfamily Thalictroideae. The plastid-encoded rpl32 gene is likely nonfunctional in members of the subfamily Thalictroideae (Aquilegia, Enemion, Isopyrum, Leptopyrum, Paraquilegia, and Semiaquilegia) including 17 Thalictrum species due to the presence of indels that disrupt the reading frame. A nuclear-encoded rpl32 with high sequence identity was identified in both Thalictrum and Aquilegia. The phylogenetic distribution of this gene loss/transfer and the high level of sequence similarity in transit peptides suggest a single transfer of the plastid-encoded rpl32 to the nucleus in the ancestor of the subfamily Thalictroideae approximately 20–32 Mya.
The genome sequence of Thalictrum coreanum provides valuable information for improving the understanding of the evolution of plastid genomes within Ranunculaceae and across angiosperms. Thalictrum is unusual among the three sequenced Ranunculaceae plastid genomes in the loss of two genes infA and rpl32, which have been functionally transferred to the nucleus. In the case of rpl32 this represents the third documented independent transfer from the plastid to the nucleus with the other two transfers occurring in the unrelated angiosperm families Rhizophoraceae and Salicaceae. Furthermore, the transfer of rpl32 provides additional molecular evidence for the monophyly of the subfamily Thalictroideae.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-015-0432-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4329224  PMID: 25652741
Gene loss; infA; Intracellular gene transfer; Meadow-rue; Plastid genome; rpl32
2.  Conserved Gene Order and Expanded Inverted Repeats Characterize Plastid Genomes of Thalassiosirales 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107854.
Diatoms are mostly photosynthetic eukaryotes within the heterokont lineage. Variable plastid genome sizes and extensive genome rearrangements have been observed across the diatom phylogeny, but little is known about plastid genome evolution within order- or family-level clades. The Thalassiosirales is one of the more comprehensively studied orders in terms of both genetics and morphology. Seven complete diatom plastid genomes are reported here including four Thalassiosirales: Thalassiosira weissflogii, Roundia cardiophora, Cyclotella sp. WC03_2, Cyclotella sp. L04_2, and three additional non-Thalassiosirales species Chaetoceros simplex, Cerataulina daemon, and Rhizosolenia imbricata. The sizes of the seven genomes vary from 116,459 to 129,498 bp, and their genomes are compact and lack introns. The larger size of the plastid genomes of Thalassiosirales compared to other diatoms is due primarily to expansion of the inverted repeat. Gene content within Thalassiosirales is more conserved compared to other diatom lineages. Gene order within Thalassiosirales is highly conserved except for the extensive genome rearrangement in Thalassiosira oceanica. Cyclotella nana, Thalassiosira weissflogii and Roundia cardiophora share an identical gene order, which is inferred to be the ancestral order for the Thalassiosirales, differing from that of the other two Cyclotella species by a single inversion. The genes ilvB and ilvH are missing in all six diatom plastid genomes except for Cerataulina daemon, suggesting an independent gain of these genes in this species. The acpP1 gene is missing in all Thalassiosirales, suggesting that its loss may be a synapomorphy for the order and this gene may have been functionally transferred to the nucleus. Three genes involved in photosynthesis, psaE, psaI, psaM, are missing in Rhizosolenia imbricata, which represents the first documented instance of the loss of photosynthetic genes in diatom plastid genomes.
PMCID: PMC4169464  PMID: 25233465
3.  Complete sequences of organelle genomes from the medicinal plant Rhazya stricta (Apocynaceae) and contrasting patterns of mitochondrial genome evolution across asterids 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):405.
Rhazya stricta is native to arid regions in South Asia and the Middle East and is used extensively in folk medicine to treat a wide range of diseases. In addition to generating genomic resources for this medicinally important plant, analyses of the complete plastid and mitochondrial genomes and a nuclear transcriptome from Rhazya provide insights into inter-compartmental transfers between genomes and the patterns of evolution among eight asterid mitochondrial genomes.
The 154,841 bp plastid genome is highly conserved with gene content and order identical to the ancestral organization of angiosperms. The 548,608 bp mitochondrial genome exhibits a number of phenomena including the presence of recombinogenic repeats that generate a multipartite organization, transferred DNA from the plastid and nuclear genomes, and bidirectional DNA transfers between the mitochondrion and the nucleus. The mitochondrial genes sdh3 and rps14 have been transferred to the nucleus and have acquired targeting presequences. In the case of rps14, two copies are present in the nucleus; only one has a mitochondrial targeting presequence and may be functional. Phylogenetic analyses of both nuclear and mitochondrial copies of rps14 across angiosperms suggests Rhazya has experienced a single transfer of this gene to the nucleus, followed by a duplication event. Furthermore, the phylogenetic distribution of gene losses and the high level of sequence divergence in targeting presequences suggest multiple, independent transfers of both sdh3 and rps14 across asterids. Comparative analyses of mitochondrial genomes of eight sequenced asterids indicates a complicated evolutionary history in this large angiosperm clade with considerable diversity in genome organization and size, repeat, gene and intron content, and amount of foreign DNA from the plastid and nuclear genomes.
Organelle genomes of Rhazya stricta provide valuable information for improving the understanding of mitochondrial genome evolution among angiosperms. The genomic data have enabled a rigorous examination of the gene transfer events. Rhazya is unique among the eight sequenced asterids in the types of events that have shaped the evolution of its mitochondrial genome. Furthermore, the organelle genomes of R. stricta provide valuable genomic resources for utilizing this important medicinal plant in biotechnology applications.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-15-405) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4045975  PMID: 24884625
Asterids; Gene transfers; Medicinal plant; Organelle genomes; Harmal; Adfir
4.  Whole Mitochondrial and Plastid Genome SNP Analysis of Nine Date Palm Cultivars Reveals Plastid Heteroplasmy and Close Phylogenetic Relationships among Cultivars 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94158.
Date palm is a very important crop in western Asia and northern Africa, and it is the oldest domesticated fruit tree with archaeological records dating back 5000 years. The huge economic value of this crop has generated considerable interest in breeding programs to enhance production of dates. One of the major limitations of these efforts is the uncertainty regarding the number of date palm cultivars, which are currently based on fruit shape, size, color, and taste. Whole mitochondrial and plastid genome sequences were utilized to examine single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of date palms to evaluate the efficacy of this approach for molecular characterization of cultivars. Mitochondrial and plastid genomes of nine Saudi Arabian cultivars were sequenced. For each species about 60 million 100 bp paired-end reads were generated from total genomic DNA using the Illumina HiSeq 2000 platform. For each cultivar, sequences were aligned separately to the published date palm plastid and mitochondrial reference genomes, and SNPs were identified. The results identified cultivar-specific SNPs for eight of the nine cultivars. Two previous SNP analyses of mitochondrial and plastid genomes identified substantial intra-cultivar ( = intra-varietal) polymorphisms in organellar genomes but these studies did not properly take into account the fact that nearly half of the plastid genome has been integrated into the mitochondrial genome. Filtering all sequencing reads that mapped to both organellar genomes nearly eliminated mitochondrial heteroplasmy but all plastid SNPs remained heteroplasmic. This investigation provides valuable insights into how to deal with interorganellar DNA transfer in performing SNP analyses from total genomic DNA. The results confirm recent suggestions that plastid heteroplasmy is much more common than previously thought. Finally, low levels of sequence variation in plastid and mitochondrial genomes argue for using nuclear SNPs for molecular characterization of date palm cultivars.
PMCID: PMC3981771  PMID: 24718264
5.  Serial Gene Losses and Foreign DNA Underlie Size and Sequence Variation in the Plastid Genomes of Diatoms 
Genome Biology and Evolution  2014;6(3):644-654.
Photosynthesis by diatoms accounts for roughly one-fifth of global primary production, but despite this, relatively little is known about their plastid genomes. We report the completely sequenced plastid genomes for eight phylogenetically diverse diatoms and show them to be variable in size, gene and foreign sequence content, and gene order. The genomes contain a core set of 122 protein-coding genes, with 15 additional genes exhibiting complex patterns of 1) gene losses at varying phylogenetic scales, 2) functional transfers to the nucleus, 3) gene duplication, divergence, and differential retention of paralogs, and 4) acquisitions of putatively functional recombinase genes from resident plasmids. The newly sequenced genomes also contain several previously unreported genes, highlighting how poorly characterized diatom plastid genomes are overall. Genome size variation reflects major expansions of the inverted repeat region in some cases but, more commonly, large-scale expansions of intergenic regions, many of which contain unique open reading frames of likely foreign origin. Although many gene clusters are conserved across species, rearrangements appear to be frequent in most lineages.
PMCID: PMC3971590  PMID: 24567305
chloroplast; diatoms; genomes; plastid; horizontal gene transfer
6.  Comparative analyses of two Geraniaceae transcriptomes using next-generation sequencing 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:228.
Organelle genomes of Geraniaceae exhibit several unusual evolutionary phenomena compared to other angiosperm families including accelerated nucleotide substitution rates, widespread gene loss, reduced RNA editing, and extensive genomic rearrangements. Since most organelle-encoded proteins function in multi-subunit complexes that also contain nuclear-encoded proteins, it is likely that the atypical organellar phenomena affect the evolution of nuclear genes encoding organellar proteins. To begin to unravel the complex co-evolutionary interplay between organellar and nuclear genomes in this family, we sequenced nuclear transcriptomes of two species, Geranium maderense and Pelargonium x hortorum.
Normalized cDNA libraries of G. maderense and P. x hortorum were used for transcriptome sequencing. Five assemblers (MIRA, Newbler, SOAPdenovo, SOAPdenovo-trans [SOAPtrans], Trinity) and two next-generation technologies (454 and Illumina) were compared to determine the optimal transcriptome sequencing approach. Trinity provided the highest quality assembly of Illumina data with the deepest transcriptome coverage. An analysis to determine the amount of sequencing needed for de novo assembly revealed diminishing returns of coverage and quality with data sets larger than sixty million Illumina paired end reads for both species. The G. maderense and P. x hortorum transcriptomes contained fewer transcripts encoding the PLS subclass of PPR proteins relative to other angiosperms, consistent with reduced mitochondrial RNA editing activity in Geraniaceae. In addition, transcripts for all six plastid targeted sigma factors were identified in both transcriptomes, suggesting that one of the highly divergent rpoA-like ORFs in the P. x hortorum plastid genome is functional.
The findings support the use of the Illumina platform and assemblers optimized for transcriptome assembly, such as Trinity or SOAPtrans, to generate high-quality de novo transcriptomes with broad coverage. In addition, results indicated no major improvements in breadth of coverage with data sets larger than six billion nucleotides or when sampling RNA from four tissue types rather than from a single tissue. Finally, this work demonstrates the power of cross-compartmental genomic analyses to deepen our understanding of the correlated evolution of the nuclear, plastid, and mitochondrial genomes in plants.
PMCID: PMC3880972  PMID: 24373163
7.  The complete nucleotide sequence of the coffee (Coffea arabica L.) chloroplast genome: organization and implications for biotechnology and phylogenetic relationships amongst angiosperms 
Plant biotechnology journal  2007;5(2):339-353.
The chloroplast genome sequence of Coffea arabica L., the first sequenced member of the fourth largest family of angiosperms, Rubiaceae, is reported. The genome is 155 189 bp in length, including a pair of inverted repeats of 25 943 bp. Of the 130 genes present, 112 are distinct and 18 are duplicated in the inverted repeat. The coding region comprises 79 protein genes, 29 transfer RNA genes, four ribosomal RNA genes and 18 genes containing introns (three with three exons). Repeat analysis revealed five direct and three inverted repeats of 30 bp or longer with a sequence identity of 90% or more. Comparisons of the coffee chloroplast genome with sequenced genomes of the closely related family Solanaceae indicated that coffee has a portion of rps19 duplicated in the inverted repeat and an intact copy of infA. Furthermore, whole-genome comparisons identified large indels (> 500 bp) in several intergenic spacer regions and introns in the Solanaceae, including trnE (UUC)–trnT (GGU) spacer, ycf4–cemA spacer, trnI (GAU) intron and rrn5–trnR (ACG) spacer. Phylogenetic analyses based on the DNA sequences of 61 protein-coding genes for 35 taxa, performed using both maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood methods, strongly supported the monophyly of several major clades of angiosperms, including monocots, eudicots, rosids, asterids, eurosids II, and euasterids I and II. Coffea (Rubiaceae, Gentianales) is only the second order sampled from the euasterid I clade. The availability of the complete chloroplast genome of coffee provides regulatory and intergenic spacer sequences for utilization in chloroplast genetic engineering to improve this important crop.
PMCID: PMC3473179  PMID: 17309688
chloroplast genetic engineering; chloroplast genome; coffee; phylogeny; Rubiaceae
8.  Complete Plastid Genome Sequences of Three Rosids (Castanea, Prunus, Theobroma): Evidence for At Least Two Independent Transfers of rpl22 to the Nucleus 
Molecular Biology and Evolution  2010;28(1):835-847.
Functional gene transfer from the plastid to the nucleus is rare among land plants despite evidence that DNA transfer to the nucleus is relatively frequent. During the course of sequencing plastid genomes from representative species from three rosid genera (Castanea, Prunus, Theobroma) and ongoing projects focusing on the Fagaceae and Passifloraceae, we identified putative losses of rpl22 in these two angiosperm families. We further characterized rpl22 from three species of Passiflora and one species of Quercus and identified sequences that likely represent pseudogenes. In Castanea and Quercus, both members of the Fagaceae, we identified a nuclear copy of rpl22, which consisted of two exons separated by an intron. Exon 1 encodes a transit peptide that likely targets the protein product back to the plastid and exon 2 encodes rpl22. We performed phylogenetic analyses of 97 taxa, including 93 angiosperms and four gymnosperm outgroups using alignments of 81 plastid genes to examine the phylogenetic distribution of rpl22 loss and transfer to the nucleus. Our results indicate that within rosids there have been independent transfers of rpl22 to the nucleus in Fabaceae and Fagaceae and a putative third transfer in Passiflora. The high level of sequence divergence between the transit peptides in Fabaceae and Fagaceae strongly suggest that these represent independent transfers. Furthermore, Blast searches did not identify the “donor” genes of the transit peptides, suggesting a de novo origin. We also performed phylogenetic analyses of rpl22 for 87 angiosperms and four gymnosperms, including nuclear-encoded copies for five species of Fabaceae and Fagaceae. The resulting trees indicated that the transfer of rpl22 to the nucleus does not predate the origin of angiosperms as suggested in an earlier study. Using previously published angiosperm divergence time estimates, we suggest that these transfers occurred approximately 56–58, 34–37, and 26–27 Ma for the Fabaceae, Fagaceae, and Passifloraceae, respectively.
PMCID: PMC3108605  PMID: 20935065
plastid genome; rpl22; gene transfer; rosids
9.  Taking the First Steps towards a Standard for Reporting on Phylogenies: Minimal Information about a Phylogenetic Analysis (MIAPA) 
In the eight years since phylogenomics was introduced as the intersection of genomics and phylogenetics, the field has provided fundamental insights into gene function, genome history and organismal relationships. The utility of phylogenomics is growing with the increase in the number and diversity of taxa for which whole genome and large transcriptome sequence sets are being generated. We assert that the synergy between genomic and phylogenetic perspectives in comparative biology would be enhanced by the development and refinement of minimal reporting standards for phylogenetic analyses. Encouraged by the development of the Minimum Information About a Microarray Experiment (MIAME) standard, we propose a similar roadmap for the development of a Minimal Information About a Phylogenetic Analysis (MIAPA) standard. Key in the successful development and implementation of such a standard will be broad participation by developers of phylogenetic analysis software, phylogenetic database developers, practitioners of phylogenomics, and journal editors.
PMCID: PMC3167193  PMID: 16901231
10.  Implications of the Plastid Genome Sequence of Typha (Typhaceae, Poales) for Understanding Genome Evolution in Poaceae 
Journal of Molecular Evolution  2010;70(2):149-166.
Plastid genomes of the grasses (Poaceae) are unusual in their organization and rates of sequence evolution. There has been a recent surge in the availability of grass plastid genome sequences, but a comprehensive comparative analysis of genome evolution has not been performed that includes any related families in the Poales. We report on the plastid genome of Typha latifolia, the first non-grass Poales sequenced to date, and we present comparisons of genome organization and sequence evolution within Poales. Our results confirm that grass plastid genomes exhibit acceleration in both genomic rearrangements and nucleotide substitutions. Poaceae have multiple structural rearrangements, including three inversions, three genes losses (accD, ycf1, ycf2), intron losses in two genes (clpP, rpoC1), and expansion of the inverted repeat (IR) into both large and small single-copy regions. These rearrangements are restricted to the Poaceae, and IR expansion into the small single-copy region correlates with the phylogeny of the family. Comparisons of 73 protein-coding genes for 47 angiosperms including nine Poaceae genera confirm that the branch leading to Poaceae has significantly accelerated rates of change relative to other monocots and angiosperms. Furthermore, rates of sequence evolution within grasses are lower, indicating a deceleration during diversification of the family. Overall there is a strong correlation between accelerated rates of genomic rearrangements and nucleotide substitutions in Poaceae, a phenomenon that has been noted recently throughout angiosperms. The cause of the correlation is unknown, but faulty DNA repair has been suggested in other systems including bacterial and animal mitochondrial genomes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00239-009-9317-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2825539  PMID: 20091301
Plastid genomics; Molecular evolution; Poales; Poaceae; Grass genomes; Typha latifolia
11.  Complete chloroplast genome sequences of Hordeum vulgare, Sorghum bicolor and Agrostis stolonifera, and comparative analyses with other grass genomes 
Comparisons of complete chloroplast genome sequences of Hordeum vulgare, Sorghum bicolor and Agrostis stolonifera to six published grass chloroplast genomes reveal that gene content and order are similar but two microstructural changes have occurred. First, the expansion of the IR at the SSC/IRa boundary that duplicates a portion of the 5′ end of ndhH is restricted to the three genera of the subfamily Pooideae (Agrostis, Hordeum and Triticum). Second, a 6 bp deletion in ndhK is shared by Agrostis, Hordeum, Oryza and Triticum, and this event supports the sister relationship between the subfamilies Erhartoideae and Pooideae. Repeat analysis identified 19–37 direct and inverted repeats 30 bp or longer with a sequence identity of at least 90%. Seventeen of the 26 shared repeats are found in all the grass chloroplast genomes examined and are located in the same genes or intergenic spacer (IGS) regions. Examination of simple sequence repeats (SSRs) identified 16–21 potential polymorphic SSRs. Five IGS regions have 100% sequence identity among Zea mays, Saccharum officinarum and Sorghum bicolor, whereas no spacer regions were identical among Oryza sativa, Triticum aestivum, H. vulgare and A. stolonifera despite their close phylogenetic relationship. Alignment of EST sequences and DNA coding sequences identified six C–U conversions in both Sorghum bicolor and H. vulgare but only one in A. stolonifera. Phylogenetic trees based on DNA sequences of 61 protein-coding genes of 38 taxa using both maximum parsimony and likelihood methods provide moderate support for a sister relationship between the subfamilies Erhartoideae and Pooideae.
PMCID: PMC2674615  PMID: 17534593
12.  Complete plastid genome sequence of the chickpea (Cicer arietinum) and the phylogenetic distribution of rps12 and clpP intron losses among legumes (Leguminosae) 
Chickpea (Cicer arietinum, Leguminosae), an important grain legume, is widely used for food and fodder throughout the world. We sequenced the complete plastid genome of chickpea, which is 125,319 bp in size, and contains only one copy of the inverted repeat (IR). The genome encodes 108 genes, including 4 rRNAs, 29 tRNAs, and 75 proteins. The genes rps16, infA, and ycf4 are absent in the chickpea plastid genome, and ndhB has an internal stop codon in the 5′exon, similar to other legumes. Two genes have lost their introns, one in the 3′exon of the transpliced gene rps12, and the one between exons 1 and 2 of clpP; this represents the first documented case of the loss of introns from both of these genes in the same plastid genome. An extensive phylogenetic survey of these intron losses was performed on 302 taxa across legumes and the related family Polygalaceae. The clpP intron has been lost exclusively in taxa from the temperate “IR-lacking clade” (IRLC), whereas the rps12 intron has been lost in most members of the IRLC (with the exception of Wisteria, Callerya, Afgekia, and certain species of Millettia, which represent the earliest diverging lineages of this clade), and in the tribe Desmodieae, which is closely related to the tribes Phaseoleae and Psoraleeae. Data provided here suggest that the loss of the rps12 intron occurred after the loss of the IR. The two new genomic changes identified in the present study provide additional support of the monophyly of the IR-loss clade, and resolution of the pattern of the earliest-branching lineages in this clade. The availability of the complete chickpea plastid genome sequence also provides valuable information on intergenic spacer regions among legumes and endogenous regulatory sequences for plastid genetic engineering.
PMCID: PMC2586962  PMID: 18638561
Plastid genetic engineering; Genome evolution; Phylogeny of legumes; Leguminosae; Intron loss; Chickpea; Cicer
13.  The complete nucleotide sequence of the cassava (Manihot esculenta) chloroplast genome and the evolution of atpF in Malpighiales: RNA editing and multiple losses of a group II intron 
The complete sequence of the chloroplast genome of cassava (Manihot esculenta, Euphorbiaceae) has been determined. The genome is 161,453 bp in length and includes a pair of inverted repeats (IR) of 26,954 bp. The genome includes 128 genes; 96 are single copy and 16 are duplicated in the IR. There are four rRNA genes and 30 distinct tRNAs, seven of which are duplicated in the IR. The infA gene is absent; expansion of IRb has duplicated 62 amino acids at the 3′ end of rps19 and a number of coding regions have large insertions or deletions, including insertions within the 23S rRNA gene. There are 17 intron-containing genes in cassava, 15 of which have a single intron while two (clpP, ycf3) have two introns. The usually conserved atpF group II intron is absent and this is the first report of its loss from land plant chloroplast genomes. The phylogenetic distribution of the atpF intron loss was determined by a PCR survey of 251 taxa representing 34 families of Malpighiales and 16 taxa from closely related rosids. The atpF intron is not only missing in cassava but also from closely related Euphorbiaceae and other Malpighiales, suggesting that there have been at least seven independent losses. In cassava and all other sequenced Malphigiales, atpF gene sequences showed a strong association between C-to-T substitutions at nucleotide position 92 and the loss of the intron, suggesting that recombination between an edited mRNA and the atpF gene may be a possible mechanism for the intron loss.
PMCID: PMC2587239  PMID: 18214421
14.  Comparative chloroplast genomics: analyses including new sequences from the angiosperms Nuphar advena and Ranunculus macranthus 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:174.
The number of completely sequenced plastid genomes available is growing rapidly. This array of sequences presents new opportunities to perform comparative analyses. In comparative studies, it is often useful to compare across wide phylogenetic spans and, within angiosperms, to include representatives from basally diverging lineages such as the genomes reported here: Nuphar advena (from a basal-most lineage) and Ranunculus macranthus (a basal eudicot). We report these two new plastid genome sequences and make comparisons (within angiosperms, seed plants, or all photosynthetic lineages) to evaluate features such as the status of ycf15 and ycf68 as protein coding genes, the distribution of simple sequence repeats (SSRs) and longer dispersed repeats (SDR), and patterns of nucleotide composition.
The Nuphar [GenBank:NC_008788] and Ranunculus [GenBank:NC_008796] plastid genomes share characteristics of gene content and organization with many other chloroplast genomes. Like other plastid genomes, these genomes are A+T-rich, except for rRNA and tRNA genes. Detailed comparisons of Nuphar with Nymphaea, another Nymphaeaceae, show that more than two-thirds of these genomes exhibit at least 95% sequence identity and that most SSRs are shared. In broader comparisons, SSRs vary among genomes in terms of abundance and length and most contain repeat motifs based on A and T nucleotides.
SSR and SDR abundance varies by genome and, for SSRs, is proportional to genome size. Long SDRs are rare in the genomes assessed. SSRs occur less frequently than predicted and, although the majority of the repeat motifs do include A and T nucleotides, the A+T bias in SSRs is less than that predicted from the underlying genomic nucleotide composition. In codon usage third positions show an A+T bias, however variation in codon usage does not correlate with differences in A+T-richness. Thus, although plastome nucleotide composition shows "A+T richness", an A+T bias is not apparent upon more in-depth analysis, at least in these aspects. The pattern of evolution in the sequences identified as ycf15 and ycf68 is not consistent with them being protein-coding genes. In fact, these regions show no evidence of sequence conservation beyond what is normal for non-coding regions of the IR.
PMCID: PMC1925096  PMID: 17573971
15.  Complete plastid genome sequences of Drimys, Liriodendron, and Piper: implications for the phylogenetic relationships of magnoliids 
The magnoliids with four orders, 19 families, and 8,500 species represent one of the largest clades of early diverging angiosperms. Although several recent angiosperm phylogenetic analyses supported the monophyly of magnoliids and suggested relationships among the orders, the limited number of genes examined resulted in only weak support, and these issues remain controversial. Furthermore, considerable incongruence resulted in phylogenetic reconstructions supporting three different sets of relationships among magnoliids and the two large angiosperm clades, monocots and eudicots. We sequenced the plastid genomes of three magnoliids, Drimys (Canellales), Liriodendron (Magnoliales), and Piper (Piperales), and used these data in combination with 32 other angiosperm plastid genomes to assess phylogenetic relationships among magnoliids and to examine patterns of variation of GC content.
The Drimys, Liriodendron, and Piper plastid genomes are very similar in size at 160,604, 159,886 bp, and 160,624 bp, respectively. Gene content and order are nearly identical to many other unrearranged angiosperm plastid genomes, including Calycanthus, the other published magnoliid genome. Overall GC content ranges from 34–39%, and coding regions have a substantially higher GC content than non-coding regions. Among protein-coding genes, GC content varies by codon position with 1st codon > 2nd codon > 3rd codon, and it varies by functional group with photosynthetic genes having the highest percentage and NADH genes the lowest. Phylogenetic analyses using parsimony and likelihood methods and sequences of 61 protein-coding genes provided strong support for the monophyly of magnoliids and two strongly supported groups were identified, the Canellales/Piperales and the Laurales/Magnoliales. Strong support is reported for monocots and eudicots as sister clades with magnoliids diverging before the monocot-eudicot split. The trees also provided moderate or strong support for the position of Amborella as sister to a clade including all other angiosperms.
Evolutionary comparisons of three new magnoliid plastid genome sequences, combined with other published angiosperm genomes, confirm that GC content is unevenly distributed across the genome by location, codon position, and functional group. Furthermore, phylogenetic analyses provide the strongest support so far for the hypothesis that the magnoliids are sister to a large clade that includes both monocots and eudicots.
PMCID: PMC1626487  PMID: 17020608
16.  The complete chloroplast genome sequence of Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck var 'Ridge Pineapple': organization and phylogenetic relationships to other angiosperms 
BMC Plant Biology  2006;6:21.
The production of Citrus, the largest fruit crop of international economic value, has recently been imperiled due to the introduction of the bacterial disease Citrus canker. No significant improvements have been made to combat this disease by plant breeding and nuclear transgenic approaches. Chloroplast genetic engineering has a number of advantages over nuclear transformation; it not only increases transgene expression but also facilitates transgene containment, which is one of the major impediments for development of transgenic trees. We have sequenced the Citrus chloroplast genome to facilitate genetic improvement of this crop and to assess phylogenetic relationships among major lineages of angiosperms.
The complete chloroplast genome sequence of Citrus sinensis is 160,129 bp in length, and contains 133 genes (89 protein-coding, 4 rRNAs and 30 distinct tRNAs). Genome organization is very similar to the inferred ancestral angiosperm chloroplast genome. However, in Citrus the infA gene is absent. The inverted repeat region has expanded to duplicate rps19 and the first 84 amino acids of rpl22. The rpl22 gene in the IRb region has a nonsense mutation resulting in 9 stop codons. This was confirmed by PCR amplification and sequencing using primers that flank the IR/LSC boundaries. Repeat analysis identified 29 direct and inverted repeats 30 bp or longer with a sequence identity ≥ 90%. Comparison of protein-coding sequences with expressed sequence tags revealed six putative RNA edits, five of which resulted in non-synonymous modifications in petL, psbH, ycf2 and ndhA. Phylogenetic analyses using maximum parsimony (MP) and maximum likelihood (ML) methods of a dataset composed of 61 protein-coding genes for 30 taxa provide strong support for the monophyly of several major clades of angiosperms, including monocots, eudicots, rosids and asterids. The MP and ML trees are incongruent in three areas: the position of Amborella and Nymphaeales, relationship of the magnoliid genus Calycanthus, and the monophyly of the eurosid I clade. Both MP and ML trees provide strong support for the monophyly of eurosids II and for the placement of Citrus (Sapindales) sister to a clade including the Malvales/Brassicales.
This is the first complete chloroplast genome sequence for a member of the Rutaceae and Sapindales. Expansion of the inverted repeat region to include rps19 and part of rpl22 and presence of two truncated copies of rpl22 is unusual among sequenced chloroplast genomes. Availability of a complete Citrus chloroplast genome sequence provides valuable information on intergenic spacer regions and endogenous regulatory sequences for chloroplast genetic engineering. Phylogenetic analyses resolve relationships among several major clades of angiosperms and provide strong support for the monophyly of the eurosid II clade and the position of the Sapindales sister to the Brassicales/Malvales.
PMCID: PMC1599732  PMID: 17010212
17.  Complete plastid genome sequence of Daucus carota: Implications for biotechnology and phylogeny of angiosperms 
BMC Genomics  2006;7:222.
Carrot (Daucus carota) is a major food crop in the US and worldwide. Its capacity for storage and its lifecycle as a biennial make it an attractive species for the introduction of foreign genes, especially for oral delivery of vaccines and other therapeutic proteins. Until recently efforts to express recombinant proteins in carrot have had limited success in terms of protein accumulation in the edible tap roots. Plastid genetic engineering offers the potential to overcome this limitation, as demonstrated by the accumulation of BADH in chromoplasts of carrot taproots to confer exceedingly high levels of salt resistance. The complete plastid genome of carrot provides essential information required for genetic engineering. Additionally, the sequence data add to the rapidly growing database of plastid genomes for assessing phylogenetic relationships among angiosperms.
The complete carrot plastid genome is 155,911 bp in length, with 115 unique genes and 21 duplicated genes within the IR. There are four ribosomal RNAs, 30 distinct tRNA genes and 18 intron-containing genes. Repeat analysis reveals 12 direct and 2 inverted repeats ≥ 30 bp with a sequence identity ≥ 90%. Phylogenetic analysis of nucleotide sequences for 61 protein-coding genes using both maximum parsimony (MP) and maximum likelihood (ML) were performed for 29 angiosperms. Phylogenies from both methods provide strong support for the monophyly of several major angiosperm clades, including monocots, eudicots, rosids, asterids, eurosids II, euasterids I, and euasterids II.
The carrot plastid genome contains a number of dispersed direct and inverted repeats scattered throughout coding and non-coding regions. This is the first sequenced plastid genome of the family Apiaceae and only the second published genome sequence of the species-rich euasterid II clade. Both MP and ML trees provide very strong support (100% bootstrap) for the sister relationship of Daucus with Panax in the euasterid II clade. These results provide the best taxon sampling of complete chloroplast genomes and the strongest support yet for the sister relationship of Caryophyllales to the asterids. The availability of the complete plastid genome sequence should facilitate improved transformation efficiency and foreign gene expression in carrot through utilization of endogenous flanking sequences and regulatory elements.
PMCID: PMC1579219  PMID: 16945140
18.  Phylogenetic analyses of Vitis (Vitaceae) based on complete chloroplast genome sequences: effects of taxon sampling and phylogenetic methods on resolving relationships among rosids 
The Vitaceae (grape) is an economically important family of angiosperms whose phylogenetic placement is currently unresolved. Recent phylogenetic analyses based on one to several genes have suggested several alternative placements of this family, including sister to Caryophyllales, asterids, Saxifragales, Dilleniaceae or to rest of rosids, though support for these different results has been weak. There has been a recent interest in using complete chloroplast genome sequences for resolving phylogenetic relationships among angiosperms. These studies have clarified relationships among several major lineages but they have also emphasized the importance of taxon sampling and the effects of different phylogenetic methods for obtaining accurate phylogenies. We sequenced the complete chloroplast genome of Vitis vinifera and used these data to assess relationships among 27 angiosperms, including nine taxa of rosids.
The Vitis vinifera chloroplast genome is 160,928 bp in length, including a pair of inverted repeats of 26,358 bp that are separated by small and large single copy regions of 19,065 bp and 89,147 bp, respectively. The gene content and order of Vitis is identical to many other unrearranged angiosperm chloroplast genomes, including tobacco. Phylogenetic analyses using maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood were performed on DNA sequences of 61 protein-coding genes for two datasets with 28 or 29 taxa, including eight or nine taxa from four of the seven currently recognized major clades of rosids. Parsimony and likelihood phylogenies of both data sets provide strong support for the placement of Vitaceae as sister to the remaining rosids. However, the position of the Myrtales and support for the monophyly of the eurosid I clade differs between the two data sets and the two methods of analysis. In parsimony analyses, the inclusion of Gossypium is necessary to obtain trees that support the monophyly of the eurosid I clade. However, maximum likelihood analyses place Cucumis as sister to the Myrtales and therefore do not support the monophyly of the eurosid I clade.
Phylogenies based on DNA sequences from complete chloroplast genome sequences provide strong support for the position of the Vitaceae as the earliest diverging lineage of rosids. Our phylogenetic analyses support recent assertions that inadequate taxon sampling and incorrect model specification for concatenated multi-gene data sets can mislead phylogenetic inferences when using whole chloroplast genomes for phylogeny reconstruction.
PMCID: PMC1479384  PMID: 16603088
19.  The complete chloroplast genome sequence of Gossypium hirsutum: organization and phylogenetic relationships to other angiosperms 
BMC Genomics  2006;7:61.
Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) is the most important fiber crop grown in 90 countries. In 2004–2005, US farmers planted 79% of the 5.7-million hectares of nuclear transgenic cotton. Unfortunately, genetically modified cotton has the potential to hybridize with other cultivated and wild relatives, resulting in geographical restrictions to cultivation. However, chloroplast genetic engineering offers the possibility of containment because of maternal inheritance of transgenes. The complete chloroplast genome of cotton provides essential information required for genetic engineering. In addition, the sequence data were used to assess phylogenetic relationships among the major clades of rosids using cotton and 25 other completely sequenced angiosperm chloroplast genomes.
The complete cotton chloroplast genome is 160,301 bp in length, with 112 unique genes and 19 duplicated genes within the IR, containing a total of 131 genes. There are four ribosomal RNAs, 30 distinct tRNA genes and 17 intron-containing genes. The gene order in cotton is identical to that of tobacco but lacks rpl22 and infA. There are 30 direct and 24 inverted repeats 30 bp or longer with a sequence identity ≥ 90%. Most of the direct repeats are within intergenic spacer regions, introns and a 72 bp-long direct repeat is within the psaA and psaB genes. Comparison of protein coding sequences with expressed sequence tags (ESTs) revealed nucleotide substitutions resulting in amino acid changes in ndhC, rpl23, rpl20, rps3 and clpP. Phylogenetic analysis of a data set including 61 protein-coding genes using both maximum likelihood and maximum parsimony were performed for 28 taxa, including cotton and five other angiosperm chloroplast genomes that were not included in any previous phylogenies.
Cotton chloroplast genome lacks rpl22 and infA and contains a number of dispersed direct and inverted repeats. RNA editing resulted in amino acid changes with significant impact on their hydropathy. Phylogenetic analysis provides strong support for the position of cotton in the Malvales in the eurosids II clade sister to Arabidopsis in the Brassicales. Furthermore, there is strong support for the placement of the Myrtales sister to the eurosid I clade, although expanded taxon sampling is needed to further test this relationship.
PMCID: PMC1513215  PMID: 16553962
20.  ChloroplastDB: the Chloroplast Genome Database 
Nucleic Acids Research  2005;34(Database issue):D692-D696.
The Chloroplast Genome Database (ChloroplastDB) is an interactive, web-based database for fully sequenced plastid genomes, containing genomic, protein, DNA and RNA sequences, gene locations, RNA-editing sites, putative protein families and alignments (). With recent technical advances, the rate of generating new organelle genomes has increased dramatically. However, the established ontology for chloroplast genes and gene features has not been uniformly applied to all chloroplast genomes available in the sequence databases. For example, annotations for some published genome sequences have not evolved with gene naming conventions. ChloroplastDB provides unified annotations, gene name search, BLAST and download functions for chloroplast encoded genes and genomic sequences. A user can retrieve all orthologous sequences with one search regardless of gene names in GenBank. This feature alone greatly facilitates comparative research on sequence evolution including changes in gene content, codon usage, gene structure and post-transcriptional modifications such as RNA editing. Orthologous protein sets are classified by TribeMCL and each set is assigned a standard gene name. Over the next few years, as the number of sequenced chloroplast genomes increases rapidly, the tools available in ChloroplastDB will allow researchers to easily identify and compile target data for comparative analysis of chloroplast genes and genomes.
PMCID: PMC1347418  PMID: 16381961
21.  Chloroplast DNA rearrangements in Campanulaceae: phylogenetic utility of highly rearranged genomes 
The Campanulaceae (the "hare bell" or "bellflower" family) is a derived angiosperm family comprised of about 600 species treated in 35 to 55 genera. Taxonomic treatments vary widely and little phylogenetic work has been done in the family. Gene order in the chloroplast genome usually varies little among vascular plants. However, chloroplast genomes of Campanulaceae represent an exception and phylogenetic analyses solely based on chloroplast rearrangement characters support a reasonably well-resolved tree.
Chloroplast DNA physical maps were constructed for eighteen representatives of the family. So many gene order changes have occurred among the genomes that characterizing individual mutational events was not always possible. Therefore, we examined different, novel scoring methods to prepare data matrices for cladistic analysis. These approaches yielded largely congruent results but varied in amounts of resolution and homoplasy. The strongly supported nodes were common to all gene order analyses as well as to parallel analyses based on ITS and rbcL sequence data. The results suggest some interesting and unexpected intrafamilial relationships. For example fifteen of the taxa form a derived clade; whereas the remaining three taxa – Platycodon, Codonopsis, and Cyananthus – form the basal clade. This major subdivision of the family corresponds to the distribution of pollen morphology characteristics but is not compatible with previous taxonomic treatments.
Our use of gene order data in the Campanulaceae provides the most highly resolved phylogeny as yet developed for a plant family using only cpDNA rearrangements. The gene order data showed markedly less homoplasy than sequence data for the same taxa but did not resolve quite as many nodes. The rearrangement characters, though relatively few in number, support robust and meaningful phylogenetic hypotheses and provide new insights into evolutionary relationships within the Campanulaceae.
PMCID: PMC516026  PMID: 15324459

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