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Comparative analyses of 3654 chloroplast genomes unraveled new insights into the evolutionary mechanism of green plants

By Ting Yang, Xuezhu Liao, Lingxiao Yang, Yang Liu, Weixue Mu, Sunil Kumar Sahu, Xin Liu, Mikael Lenz Strube, Bojian Zhong, Huan Liu

Posted 03 Jun 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/655241

Background: Chloroplast are believed to arise from a cyanobacterium through endosymbiosis and they played vital roles in photosynthesis, oxygen release and metabolites synthesis for the plant. With the advent of next-generation sequencing technologies, until December 2018, about 3,654 complete chloroplast genome sequences have been made available. It is possible to compare the chloroplast genome structure to elucidate the evolutionary history of the green plants. Results: We compared the 3654 chloroplast genomes of the green plants and found extreme conservation of gene orders and gene blocks in the green plant such as ATP synthase cluster, Phytosystem, Cytochrome cluster, and Ribosomal cluster. For the chloroplast-based phylogenomics, we used three different data sets to recover the relationships within green plants which accounted for biased GC content and could mitigate the bias in molecular data sets by increasing taxon sampling. The main topology results include: I) Chlorokybales + Mesostigmatales as the earliest-branching lineage and a clade comprising Zygnematales+ Desmidiales formed a grade as the sister group to the land plants, II) Based on matrix AA data, Bryophytes was strongly supported as monophyletic but for matrix nt123 data, hornworts, mosses and liverworts were placed as successive sister lineages of Tracheophytes with strong support, III) Magnoliids were placed in the outside of Monocots using the matrix nt123 data and the matrix AA data, IV) Ceratophyllales + Chloranthales as sister to the Eudicots using matrix nt123 data, but when using matrix nt12 data and AA data, only Ceratophyllales sister to the Eudicots. Conclusion: We present the first of its kind large scale comparative analyses of the chloroplast coding gene constitution for 3654 green plants. Some important genes likely showed co-occurrence and formed gene cluster and gene blocks in Streptophyta. We found a clear expansion of IRs (Inverted Repeats) among seed plants. The comprehensive taxon sampling and different data sets recovered a strong relationship for green plants. Keywords: Chloroplast genome; Phylogenetics; Evolution; Viridiplantae; Inverted Repeats; Gene expansion

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