Reconstructing the origin and evolution of land plants and their algal relatives is a fundamental problem in plant phylogenetics, and is essential for understanding how critical adaptations arose, including the embryo, vascular tissue, seeds, and flowers. Despite advances in molecular systematics, some hypotheses of relationships remain weakly resolved. Inferring deep phylogenies with bouts of rapid diversification can be problematic; however, genome-scale data should significantly increase the number of informative characters for analyses. Recent phylogenomic reconstructions focused on the major divergences of plants have resulted in promising but inconsistent results. One limitation is sparse taxon sampling, likely resulting from the difficulty and cost of data generation. To address this limitation, transcriptome data for 92 streptophyte taxa were generated and analyzed along with 11 published plant genome sequences. Phylogenetic reconstructions were conducted using up to 852 nuclear genes and 1,701,170 aligned sites. Sixty-nine analyses were performed to test the robustness of phylogenetic inferences to permutations of the data matrix or to phylogenetic method, including supermatrix, supertree, and coalescent-based approaches, maximumlikelihood and Bayesian methods, partitioned and unpartitioned analyses, and amino acid versus DNA alignments. Among other results, we find robust support for a sister-group relationship between land plants and one group of streptophyte green algae, the Zygnematophyceae. Strong and robust support for a clade comprising liverworts and mosses is inconsistent with a widely accepted view of early land plant evolution, and suggests that phylogenetic hypotheses used to understand the evolution of fundamental plant traits should be reevaluated.land plants | Streptophyta | phylogeny | phylogenomics | transcriptome T he origin of embryophytes (land plants) in the Ordovician period roughly 480 Mya (1-4) marks one of the most important events in the evolution of life on Earth. The early evolution of embryophytes in terrestrial environments was facilitated by numerous innovations, including parental protection for the developing embryo, sperm and egg production in multicellular protective structures, and an alternation of phases (often referred to as generations) in which a diploid sporophytic life history stage gives rise to a multicellular haploid gametophytic phase. With Significance Early branching events in the diversification of land plants and closely related algal lineages remain fundamental and unresolved questions in plant evolutionary biology. Accurate reconstructions of these relationships are critical for testing hypotheses of character evolution: for example, the origins of the embryo, vascular tissue, seeds, and flowers. We investigated relationships among streptophyte algae and land plants using the largest set of nuclear genes that has been applied to this problem to date. Hypothesized relationships were rigorously tested through a series of analyses to assess systematic er...
The draft genome of the moss model, Physcomitrella patens, comprised approximately 2000 unordered scaffolds. In order to enable analyses of genome structure and evolution we generated a chromosome-scale genome assembly using genetic linkage as well as (end) sequencing of long DNA fragments. We find that 57% of the genome comprises transposable elements (TEs), some of which may be actively transposing during the life cycle. Unlike in flowering plant genomes, gene- and TE-rich regions show an overall even distribution along the chromosomes. However, the chromosomes are mono-centric with peaks of a class of Copia elements potentially coinciding with centromeres. Gene body methylation is evident in 5.7% of the protein-coding genes, typically coinciding with low GC and low expression. Some giant virus insertions are transcriptionally active and might protect gametes from viral infection via siRNA mediated silencing. Structure-based detection methods show that the genome evolved via two rounds of whole genome duplications (WGDs), apparently common in mosses but not in liverworts and hornworts. Several hundred genes are present in colinear regions conserved since the last common ancestor of plants. These syntenic regions are enriched for functions related to plant-specific cell growth and tissue organization. The P. patens genome lacks the TE-rich pericentromeric and gene-rich distal regions typical for most flowering plant genomes. More non-seed plant genomes are needed to unravel how plant genomes evolve, and to understand whether the P. patens genome structure is typical for mosses or bryophytes.
The 1,000 plants (1KP) project is an international multi-disciplinary consortium that has generated transcriptome data from over 1,000 plant species, with exemplars for all of the major lineages across the Viridiplantae (green plants) clade. Here, we describe how to access the data used in a phylogenomics analysis of the first 85 species, and how to visualize our gene and species trees. Users can develop computational pipelines to analyse these data, in conjunction with data of their own that they can upload. Computationally estimated protein-protein interactions and biochemical pathways can be visualized at another site. Finally, we comment on our future plans and how they fit within this scalable system for the dissemination, visualization, and analysis of large multi-species data sets.
BackgroundAlthough it is agreed that a major polyploidy event, gamma, occurred within the eudicots, the phylogenetic placement of the event remains unclear.ResultsTo 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.ConclusionsThe 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.
Barcodes are short segments of DNA that can be used to uniquely identify an unknown specimen to species, particularly when diagnostic morphological features are absent. These sequences could offer a new forensic tool in plant and animal conservation—especially for endangered species such as members of the Cycadales. Ideally, barcodes could be used to positively identify illegally obtained material even in cases where diagnostic features have been purposefully removed or to release confiscated organisms into the proper breeding population. In order to be useful, a DNA barcode sequence must not only easily PCR amplify with universal or near-universal reaction conditions and primers, but also contain enough variation to generate unique identifiers at either the species or population levels. Chloroplast regions suggested by the Plant Working Group of the Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBoL), and two alternatives, the chloroplast psbA-trnH intergenic spacer and the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (nrITS), were tested for their utility in generating unique identifiers for members of the Cycadales. Ease of amplification and sequence generation with universal primers and reaction conditions was determined for each of the seven proposed markers. While none of the proposed markers provided unique identifiers for all species tested, nrITS showed the most promise in terms of variability, although sequencing difficulties remain a drawback. We suggest a workflow for DNA barcoding, including database generation and management, which will ultimately be necessary if we are to succeed in establishing a universal DNA barcode for plants.
We present an analysis of supra-familial relationships of monocots based on a combined matrix of nuclear ISS and partial 26S rONA, plastid atpB, matK, ndhF, and rbcL, and mitochondrial atpl DNA sequences. Results are highly congruent with previous analyses and provide higher bootstrap support for nearly all relationships than in previously published analyses. Important changes to the results of previous work are a well-supported position of Petrosaviaceae as sister to all monocots above Acorales and Alismatales and much higher support for the commelinid clade. For the first time, the spine of the monocot tree has some bootstrap support, although support for paraphyly of liliids is still only low to moderate (79-82%). Dioscoreales and Pandanales are sister taxa (moderately supported, 87-92%), and Asparagales are weakly supported (79%) as sister to the commelinids. Analysis of just the four plastid genes reveals that addition of data from the other two genomes contributes to generally better support for most clades, particularly along the spine. A new collection reveals that previous material of Petermannia was misidentified, and now Petermanniaceae should no longer be considered a synonym of Colchicaceae. Arachnitis (Corsiaceae) falls into Liliales, but its exact position is not well supported. Sciaphila (Triuridaceae) falls with Pandanales. Trithuria (Hydatellaceae) falls in Poales near Eriocaulaceae, Mayacaceae, and Xyridaceae, but until a complete set of genes are produced for this taxon, its placement will remain problematic. Within the commelinid clade, Dasypogonaceae are sister to Poales and Arecales sister to the rest of the commelinids, but these relationships are only weakly supported.
Colonization of land by plants was a major transition on Earth, but the developmental and genetic innovations required for this transition remain unknown. Physiological studies and the fossil record strongly suggest that the ability of the first land plants to form symbiotic associations with beneficial fungi was one of these critical innovations. In angiosperms, genes required for the perception and transduction of diffusible fungal signals for root colonization and for nutrient exchange have been characterized. However, the origin of these genes and their potential correlation with land colonization remain elusive. A comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of 259 transcriptomes and 10 green algal and basal land plant genomes, coupled with the characterization of the evolutionary path leading to the appearance of a key regulator, a calcium-and calmodulin-dependent protein kinase, showed that the symbiotic signaling pathway predated the first land plants. In contrast, downstream genes required for root colonization and their specific expression pattern probably appeared subsequent to the colonization of land. We conclude that the most recent common ancestor of extant land plants and green algae was preadapted for symbiotic associations. Subsequent improvement of this precursor stage in early land plants through rounds of gene duplication led to the acquisition of additional pathways and the ability to form a fully functional arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis.symbiosis | plant evolution | algae | plant-microbe interactions | phylogeny T he colonization of land by plants 450 Mya created a major transition on Earth, causing the burial of large amounts of carbon, with resultant decreases in atmospheric CO 2 leading to a dramatically altered climate. This transition provided the foundation for the majority of extant terrestrial ecosystems (1, 2). The terrestrial environment that these early plants colonized must have presented many challenges, primary among them being the acquisition of mineral nutrients. It has been suggested that the appearance of the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis and other beneficial associations with fungi such as Mucoromycotina facilitated this colonization of land by improving plants' ability to capture nutrients.Based on recent phylogenetic analyses, Zygnematales, one of the paraphyletic "advanced charophytes" (i.e., Coleochaetales, Charales, and Zygnematales), has been identified as the closest green algal relative to land plants, whereas the chlorophytes diverged much earlier (Fig. 1A) (3, 4). On the other side of this transition, bryophyte lineages (i.e., liverworts, mosses, and hornworts) are considered to be the earliest diverging land plants, although their branching order remains debated (5-7). Key innovations present in bryophytes but not in advanced charophytes thus are good candidates for understanding the basis of land colonization by plants. In support of previous suppositions, one innovation that discriminates bryophytes from charophytes is the ability to develop beneficial ass...
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