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Exploring the genomes: From Arabidopsis to crops.
J. Plant Physiol. 168, 3-8 (2011)
Model systems have played a crucial role for understanding biological processes at genetic, molecular and systems levels. Arabidopsis thaliana is one of the best studied model species for higher plants. Large genomic resources and mutant collections made Arabidopsis an excellent source for functional and comparative genomics. Rice and Brachypodium have a great potential to become model systems for grasses. Given the agronomic importance of grass crops, it is an attractive strategy to apply knowledge from Arabidopsis to grasses. Despite many efforts successful reports are sparse. Knowledge transfer should generally work best between orthologous genes that share functionality and a common ancestor. In higher plants, however, recent genome projects revealed an active and rapid evolution of genome structure, which challenges the concept of one-to-one orthologous mates between two species. In this study, we estimated on the example of protein families that are involved in redox related processes, the impact of gene expansions on the success rate for a knowledge transfer from Arabidopsis to the grass species rice, sorghum and Brachypodium. The sparse synteny between dicot and monocot plants due to frequent rearrangements, translocations and gene losses strongly impairs and reduces the number of orthologs detectable by positional conservation. To address the limitations of sparse synteny and expanded gene families, we applied for the detection of orthologs in this study orthoMCL, a sequence-based approach that allows to group closely related paralogs into one orthologous gene cluster. For a total of 49 out of 170 Arabidopsis genes we could identify conserved copy numbers between the dicot model and the grass annotations whereas approximately one third (34.7%, 59 genes) of the selected Arabidopsis genes lack an assignment to any of the grass genome annotations. The remaining 62 Arabidopsis genes represent groups that are considerably biased in their copy numbers between Arabidopsis and all or most of the three grass genomes.
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Publication type Article: Journal article
Document type Scientific Article
Keywords Comparative genomics; Gene expansions; Orthologous gene clusters; OrthoMCL