Leebens-Mack, Jim Department of Plant Biology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.
- Using genome-scale data to resolve relationships
- Genomic analysis in the last common ancestor of all living angiosperms
- Phylogenomic analyses indicate genome duplications
- Future outlook
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
With an increasing number of plant genomes being sequenced, our understanding of evolutionary processes shaping the gene content and structure of plant genomes is growing rapidly. Comparative analyses of plant genomes have been particularly informative when multispecies comparisons are done within the context of their phylogenetic relationships. For example, one may be able to pinpoint the timing of a gene duplication event if two copies are identified in a pair of closely related species but only one copy is found in a more distantly related species. In this case, one would map gene copy number onto a diagrammatic tree representing relationships among the species (a phylogenetic tree) and deduce that the duplication occurred on the branch leading to the most recent common ancestor of the species with two gene copies (Fig. 1). Furthermore, one may map the gene expression patterns onto a gene tree in order to determine whether gene function has changed in one or both of the duplicated gene copies (Fig. 1). This is just one example of how phylogenomics—the integration of genomics and phylogenetics—is being used to elucidate the evolution of biodiversity.
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