Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-12 (12)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

Year of Publication
Document Types
1.  Seed colour loci, homoeology and linkage groups of the C genome chromosomes revealed in Brassica rapa–B. oleracea monosomic alien addition lines 
Annals of Botany  2012;109(7):1227-1242.
Background and Aims
Brassica rapa and B. oleracea are the progenitors of oilseed rape B. napus. The addition of each chromosome of B. oleracea to the chromosome complement of B. rapa results in a series of monosomic alien addition lines (MAALs). Analysis of MAALs determines which B. oleracea chromosomes carry genes controlling specific phenotypic traits, such as seed colour. Yellow-seeded oilseed rape is a desirable breeding goal both for food and livestock feed end-uses that relate to oil, protein and fibre contents. The aims of this study included developing a missing MAAL to complement an available series, for studies on seed colour control, chromosome homoeology and assignment of linkage groups to B. oleracea chromosomes.
A new batch of B. rapa–B. oleracea aneuploids was produced to generate the missing MAAL. Seed colour and other plant morphological features relevant to differentiation of MAALs were recorded. For chromosome characterization, Snow's carmine, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and genomic in situ hybridization (GISH) were used.
Key Results
The final MAAL was developed. Morphological traits that differentiated the MAALs comprised cotyledon number, leaf morphology, flower colour and seed colour. Seed colour was controlled by major genes on two B. oleracea chromosomes and minor genes on five other chromosomes of this species. Homoeologous pairing was largely between chromosomes with similar centromeric positions. FISH, GISH and a parallel microsatellite marker analysis defined the chromosomes in terms of their linkage groups.
A complete set of MAALs is now available for genetic, genomic, evolutionary and breeding perspectives. Defining chromosomes that carry specific genes, physical localization of DNA markers and access to established genetic linkage maps contribute to the integration of these approaches, manifested in the confirmed correspondence of linkage groups with specific chromosomes. Applications include marker-assisted selection and breeding for yellow seeds.
PMCID: PMC3359914  PMID: 22628364
Brassica rapa var. trilocularis; B. oleracea var. alboglabra; MAALs; characterization of C chromosomes; plant morphology; seed colour control; FISH; GISH; chromosome homoeology; chromosome structural changes; linkage groups; crop plant breeding
2.  Escape from Preferential Retention Following Repeated Whole Genome Duplications in Plants 
The well supported gene dosage hypothesis predicts that genes encoding proteins engaged in dose–sensitive interactions cannot be reduced back to single copies once all interacting partners are simultaneously duplicated in a whole genome duplication. The genomes of extant flowering plants are the result of many sequential rounds of whole genome duplication, yet the fraction of genomes devoted to encoding complex molecular machines does not increase as fast as expected through multiple rounds of whole genome duplications. Using parallel interspecies genomic comparisons in the grasses and crucifers, we demonstrate that genes retained as duplicates following a whole genome duplication have only a 50% chance of being retained as duplicates in a second whole genome duplication. Genes which fractionated to a single copy following a second whole genome duplication tend to be the member of a gene pair with less complex promoters, lower levels of expression, and to be under lower levels of purifying selection. We suggest the copy with lower levels of expression and less purifying selection contributes less to effective gene-product dosage and therefore is under less dosage constraint in future whole genome duplications, providing an explanation for why flowering plant genomes are not overrun with subunits of large dose–sensitive protein complexes.
PMCID: PMC3355610  PMID: 22639677
polyploidy; gene dosage; gene loss; genome evolution; comparative genomics; crucifers; grasses
3.  Selection for Higher Gene Copy Number after Different Types of Plant Gene Duplications 
Genome Biology and Evolution  2011;3:1369-1380.
The evolutionary origins of the multitude of duplicate genes in the plant genomes are still incompletely understood. To gain an appreciation of the potential selective forces acting on these duplicates, we phylogenetically inferred the set of metabolic gene families from 10 flowering plant (angiosperm) genomes. We then compared the metabolic fluxes for these families, predicted using the Arabidopsis thaliana and Sorghum bicolor metabolic networks, with the families' duplication propensities. For duplications produced by both small scale (small-scale duplications) and genome duplication (whole-genome duplications), there is a significant association between the flux and the tendency to duplicate. Following this global analysis, we made a more fine-scale study of the selective constraints observed on plant sodium and phosphate transporters. We find that the different duplication mechanisms give rise to differing selective constraints. However, the exact nature of this pattern varies between the gene families, and we argue that the duplication mechanism alone does not define a duplicated gene's subsequent evolutionary trajectory. Collectively, our results argue for the interplay of history, function, and selection in shaping the duplicate gene evolution in plants.
PMCID: PMC3240960  PMID: 22056313
dosage selection; genome duplication; gene duplication
4.  Identification of shared single copy nuclear genes in Arabidopsis, Populus, Vitis and Oryza and their phylogenetic utility across various taxonomic levels 
Although the overwhelming majority of genes found in angiosperms are members of gene families, and both gene- and genome-duplication are pervasive forces in plant genomes, some genes are sufficiently distinct from all other genes in a genome that they can be operationally defined as 'single copy'. Using the gene clustering algorithm MCL-tribe, we have identified a set of 959 single copy genes that are shared single copy genes in the genomes of Arabidopsis thaliana, Populus trichocarpa, Vitis vinifera and Oryza sativa. To characterize these genes, we have performed a number of analyses examining GO annotations, coding sequence length, number of exons, number of domains, presence in distant lineages, such as Selaginella and Physcomitrella, and phylogenetic analysis to estimate copy number in other seed plants and to demonstrate their phylogenetic utility. We then provide examples of how these genes may be used in phylogenetic analyses to reconstruct organismal history, both by using extant coverage in EST databases for seed plants and de novo amplification via RT-PCR in the family Brassicaceae.
There are 959 single copy nuclear genes shared in Arabidopsis, Populus, Vitis and Oryza ["APVO SSC genes"]. The majority of these genes are also present in the Selaginella and Physcomitrella genomes. Public EST sets for 197 species suggest that most of these genes are present across a diverse collection of seed plants, and appear to exist as single or very low copy genes, though exceptions are seen in recently polyploid taxa and in lineages where there is significant evidence for a shared large-scale duplication event. Genes encoding proteins localized in organelles are more commonly single copy than expected by chance, but the evolutionary forces responsible for this bias are unknown.
Regardless of the evolutionary mechanisms responsible for the large number of shared single copy genes in diverse flowering plant lineages, these genes are valuable for phylogenetic and comparative analyses. Eighteen of the APVO SSC single copy genes were amplified in the Brassicaceae using RT-PCR and directly sequenced. Alignments of these sequences provide improved resolution of Brassicaceae phylogeny compared to recent studies using plastid and ITS sequences. An analysis of sequences from 13 APVO SSC genes from 69 species of seed plants, derived mainly from public EST databases, yielded a phylogeny that was largely congruent with prior hypotheses based on multiple plastid sequences. Whereas single gene phylogenies that rely on EST sequences have limited bootstrap support as the result of limited sequence information, concatenated alignments result in phylogenetic trees with strong bootstrap support for already established relationships. Overall, these single copy nuclear genes are promising markers for phylogenetics, and contain a greater proportion of phylogenetically-informative sites than commonly used protein-coding sequences from the plastid or mitochondrial genomes.
Putatively orthologous, shared single copy nuclear genes provide a vast source of new evidence for plant phylogenetics, genome mapping, and other applications, as well as a substantial class of genes for which functional characterization is needed. Preliminary evidence indicates that many of the shared single copy nuclear genes identified in this study may be well suited as markers for addressing phylogenetic hypotheses at a variety of taxonomic levels.
PMCID: PMC2848037  PMID: 20181251
5.  Rapid Chromosome Evolution in Recently Formed Polyploids in Tragopogon (Asteraceae) 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(10):e3353.
Polyploidy, frequently termed “whole genome duplication”, is a major force in the evolution of many eukaryotes. Indeed, most angiosperm species have undergone at least one round of polyploidy in their evolutionary history. Despite enormous progress in our understanding of many aspects of polyploidy, we essentially have no information about the role of chromosome divergence in the establishment of young polyploid populations. Here we investigate synthetic lines and natural populations of two recently and recurrently formed allotetraploids Tragopogon mirus and T. miscellus (formed within the past 80 years) to assess the role of aberrant meiosis in generating chromosomal/genomic diversity. That diversity is likely important in the formation, establishment and survival of polyploid populations and species.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Applications of fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) to natural populations of T. mirus and T. miscellus suggest that chromosomal rearrangements and other chromosomal changes are common in both allotetraploids. We detected extensive chromosomal polymorphism between individuals and populations, including (i) plants monosomic and trisomic for particular chromosomes (perhaps indicating compensatory trisomy), (ii) intergenomic translocations and (iii) variable sizes and expression patterns of individual ribosomal DNA (rDNA) loci. We even observed karyotypic variation among sibling plants. Significantly, translocations, chromosome loss, and meiotic irregularities, including quadrivalent formation, were observed in synthetic (S0 and S1 generations) polyploid lines. Our results not only provide a mechanism for chromosomal variation in natural populations, but also indicate that chromosomal changes occur rapidly following polyploidisation.
These data shed new light on previous analyses of genome and transcriptome structures in de novo and establishing polyploid species. Crucially our results highlight the necessity of studying karyotypes in young (<150 years old) polyploid species and synthetic polyploids that resemble natural species. The data also provide insight into the mechanisms that perturb inheritance patterns of genetic markers in synthetic polyploids and populations of young natural polyploid species.
PMCID: PMC2556386  PMID: 18843372
6.  Repeated evolution of net venation and fleshy fruits among monocots in shaded habitats confirms a priori predictions: evidence from an ndhF phylogeny 
We present a well-resolved, highly inclusive phylogeny for monocots, based on ndhF sequence variation, and use it to test a priori hypotheses that net venation and vertebrate-dispersed fleshy fruits should undergo concerted convergence, representing independent but often concurrent adaptations to shaded conditions. Our data demonstrate that net venation arose at least 26 times and was lost eight times over the past 90 million years; fleshy fruits arose at least 21 times and disappeared 11 times. Both traits show a highly significant pattern of concerted convergence (p<10−9), arising 16 times and disappearing four times in tandem. This phenomenon appears driven by even stronger tendencies for both traits to evolve in shade and be lost in open habitats (p<10−13–10−29). These patterns are among the strongest ever demonstrated for evolutionary convergence in individual traits and the predictability of evolution, and the strongest evidence yet uncovered for concerted convergence. The rate of adaptive shifts per taxon has declined exponentially over the past 90 million years, as expected when large-scale radiations fill adaptive zones.
PMCID: PMC1559828  PMID: 16011923
adaptation; correlated evolution; molecular systematics; monocotyledons
7.  Evaluating Methods for Isolating Total RNA and Predicting the Success of Sequencing Phylogenetically Diverse Plant Transcriptomes 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50226.
Next-generation sequencing plays a central role in the characterization and quantification of transcriptomes. Although numerous metrics are purported to quantify the quality of RNA, there have been no large-scale empirical evaluations of the major determinants of sequencing success. We used a combination of existing and newly developed methods to isolate total RNA from 1115 samples from 695 plant species in 324 families, which represents >900 million years of phylogenetic diversity from green algae through flowering plants, including many plants of economic importance. We then sequenced 629 of these samples on Illumina GAIIx and HiSeq platforms and performed a large comparative analysis to identify predictors of RNA quality and the diversity of putative genes (scaffolds) expressed within samples. Tissue types (e.g., leaf vs. flower) varied in RNA quality, sequencing depth and the number of scaffolds. Tissue age also influenced RNA quality but not the number of scaffolds ≥1000 bp. Overall, 36% of the variation in the number of scaffolds was explained by metrics of RNA integrity (RIN score), RNA purity (OD 260/230), sequencing platform (GAIIx vs HiSeq) and the amount of total RNA used for sequencing. However, our results show that the most commonly used measures of RNA quality (e.g., RIN) are weak predictors of the number of scaffolds because Illumina sequencing is robust to variation in RNA quality. These results provide novel insight into the methods that are most important in isolating high quality RNA for sequencing and assembling plant transcriptomes. The methods and recommendations provided here could increase the efficiency and decrease the cost of RNA sequencing for individual labs and genome centers.
PMCID: PMC3504007  PMID: 23185583
8.  A genome triplication associated with early diversification of the core eudicots 
Genome Biology  2012;13(1):R3.
Although it is agreed that a major polyploidy event, gamma, occurred within the eudicots, the phylogenetic placement of the event remains unclear.
To determine when this polyploidization occurred relative to speciation events in angiosperm history, we employed a phylogenomic approach to investigate the timing of gene set duplications located on syntenic gamma blocks. We populated 769 putative gene families with large sets of homologs obtained from public transcriptomes of basal angiosperms, magnoliids, asterids, and more than 91.8 gigabases of new next-generation transcriptome sequences of non-grass monocots and basal eudicots. The overwhelming majority (95%) of well-resolved gamma duplications was placed before the separation of rosids and asterids and after the split of monocots and eudicots, providing strong evidence that the gamma polyploidy event occurred early in eudicot evolution. Further, the majority of gene duplications was placed after the divergence of the Ranunculales and core eudicots, indicating that the gamma appears to be restricted to core eudicots. Molecular dating estimates indicate that the duplication events were intensely concentrated around 117 million years ago.
The rapid radiation of core eudicot lineages that gave rise to nearly 75% of angiosperm species appears to have occurred coincidentally or shortly following the gamma triplication event. Reconciliation of gene trees with a species phylogeny can elucidate the timing of major events in genome evolution, even when genome sequences are only available for a subset of species represented in the gene trees. Comprehensive transcriptome datasets are valuable complements to genome sequences for high-resolution phylogenomic analysis.
PMCID: PMC3334584  PMID: 22280555
9.  A physical map of Brassica oleracea shows complexity of chromosomal changes following recursive paleopolyploidizations 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:470.
Evolution of the Brassica species has been recursively affected by polyploidy events, and comparison to their relative, Arabidopsis thaliana, provides means to explore their genomic complexity.
A genome-wide physical map of a rapid-cycling strain of B. oleracea was constructed by integrating high-information-content fingerprinting (HICF) of Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC) clones with hybridization to sequence-tagged probes. Using 2907 contigs of two or more BACs, we performed several lines of comparative genomic analysis. Interspecific DNA synteny is much better preserved in euchromatin than heterochromatin, showing the qualitative difference in evolution of these respective genomic domains. About 67% of contigs can be aligned to the Arabidopsis genome, with 96.5% corresponding to euchromatic regions, and 3.5% (shown to contain repetitive sequences) to pericentromeric regions. Overgo probe hybridization data showed that contigs aligned to Arabidopsis euchromatin contain ~80% of low-copy-number genes, while genes with high copy number are much more frequently associated with pericentromeric regions. We identified 39 interchromosomal breakpoints during the diversification of B. oleracea and Arabidopsis thaliana, a relatively high level of genomic change since their divergence. Comparison of the B. oleracea physical map with Arabidopsis and other available eudicot genomes showed appreciable 'shadowing' produced by more ancient polyploidies, resulting in a web of relatedness among contigs which increased genomic complexity.
A high-resolution genetically-anchored physical map sheds light on Brassica genome organization and advances positional cloning of specific genes, and may help to validate genome sequence assembly and alignment to chromosomes.
All the physical mapping data is freely shared at a WebFPC site (; Temporarily password-protected: account: pgml; password: 123qwe123.
PMCID: PMC3193055  PMID: 21955929
Comparative genomics; polyploidy; Arabidopsis thaliana
10.  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
11.  A physical map for the Amborella trichopoda genome sheds light on the evolution of angiosperm genome structure 
Genome Biology  2011;12(5):R48.
Recent phylogenetic analyses have identified Amborella trichopoda, an understory tree species endemic to the forests of New Caledonia, as sister to a clade including all other known flowering plant species. The Amborella genome is a unique reference for understanding the evolution of angiosperm genomes because it can serve as an outgroup to root comparative analyses. A physical map, BAC end sequences and sample shotgun sequences provide a first view of the 870 Mbp Amborella genome.
Analysis of Amborella BAC ends sequenced from each contig suggests that the density of long terminal repeat retrotransposons is negatively correlated with that of protein coding genes. Syntenic, presumably ancestral, gene blocks were identified in comparisons of the Amborella BAC contigs and the sequenced Arabidopsis thaliana, Populus trichocarpa, Vitis vinifera and Oryza sativa genomes. Parsimony mapping of the loss of synteny corroborates previous analyses suggesting that the rate of structural change has been more rapid on lineages leading to Arabidopsis and Oryza compared with lineages leading to Populus and Vitis. The gamma paleohexiploidy event identified in the Arabidopsis, Populus and Vitis genomes is shown to have occurred after the divergence of all other known angiosperms from the lineage leading to Amborella.
When placed in the context of a physical map, BAC end sequences representing just 5.4% of the Amborella genome have facilitated reconstruction of gene blocks that existed in the last common ancestor of all flowering plants. The Amborella genome is an invaluable reference for inferences concerning the ancestral angiosperm and subsequent genome evolution.
PMCID: PMC3219971  PMID: 21619600
12.  Complexity of genome evolution by segmental rearrangement in Brassica rapa revealed by sequence-level analysis 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:539.
The Brassica species, related to Arabidopsis thaliana, include an important group of crops and represent an excellent system for studying the evolutionary consequences of polyploidy. Previous studies have led to a proposed structure for an ancestral karyotype and models for the evolution of the B. rapa genome by triplication and segmental rearrangement, but these have not been validated at the sequence level.
We developed computational tools to analyse the public collection of B. rapa BAC end sequence, in order to identify candidates for representing collinearity discontinuities between the genomes of B. rapa and A. thaliana. For each putative discontinuity, one of the BACs was sequenced and analysed for collinearity with the genome of A. thaliana. Additional BAC clones were identified and sequenced as part of ongoing efforts to sequence four chromosomes of B. rapa. Strikingly few of the 19 inter-chromosomal rearrangements corresponded to the set of collinearity discontinuities anticipated on the basis of previous studies. Our analyses revealed numerous instances of newly detected collinearity blocks. For B. rapa linkage group A8, we were able to develop a model for the derivation of the chromosome from the ancestral karyotype. We were also able to identify a rearrangement event in the ancestor of B. rapa that was not shared with the ancestor of A. thaliana, and is represented in triplicate in the B. rapa genome. In addition to inter-chromosomal rearrangements, we identified and analysed 32 BACs containing the end points of segmental inversion events.
Our results show that previous studies of segmental collinearity between the A. thaliana, Brassica and ancestral karyotype genomes, although very useful, represent over-simplifications of their true relationships. The presence of numerous cryptic collinear genome segments and the frequent occurrence of segmental inversions mean that inference of the positions of genes in B. rapa based on the locations of orthologues in A. thaliana can be misleading. Our results will be of relevance to a wide range of plants that have polyploid genomes, many of which are being considered according to a paradigm of comprising conserved synteny blocks with respect to sequenced, related genomes.
PMCID: PMC2783169  PMID: 19922648

Results 1-12 (12)