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Contrasting Rates of Molecular Evolution and Patterns of Selection among Gymnosperms and Flowering Plants
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Department of Plant Sciences, University of California–Davis, Davis, CA.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Department of Plant Biology, Uppsala Biocenter, Swedish University of Agr icultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.
2017 (English)In: Molecular biology and evolution, ISSN 0737-4038, E-ISSN 1537-1719, Vol. 34, no 6, 1363-1377 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The majority of variation in rates of molecular evolution among seed plants remains both unexplored and unexplained. Although some attention has been given to flowering plants, reports of molecular evolutionary rates for their sister plant clade (gymnosperms) are scarce, and to our knowledge differences in molecular evolution among seed plant clades have never been tested in a phylogenetic framework. Angiosperms and gymnosperms differ in a number of features, of which contrasting reproductive biology, life spans, and population sizes are the most prominent. The highly conserved morphology of gymnosperms evidenced by similarity of extant species to fossil records and the high levels of macrosynteny at the genomic level have led scientists to believe that gymnosperms are slow-evolving plants, although some studies have offered contradictory results. Here, we used 31,968 nucleotide sites obtained from orthologous genes across a wide taxonomic sampling that includes representatives of most conifers, cycads, ginkgo, and many angiosperms with a sequenced genome. Our results suggest that angiosperms and gymnosperms differ considerably in their rates of molecular evolution per unit time, with gymnosperm rates being, on average, seven times lower than angiosperm species. Longer generation times and larger genome sizes are some of the factors explaining the slow rates of molecular evolution found in gymnosperms. In contrast to their slow rates of molecular evolution, gymnosperms possess higher substitution rate ratios than angiosperm taxa. Finally, our study suggests stronger and more efficient purifying and diversifying selection in gymnosperm than in angiosperm species, probably in relation to larger effective population sizes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford University Press, 2017. Vol. 34, no 6, 1363-1377 p.
Keyword [en]
gymnosperms, angiosperms, substitution rates, selection, mutation, life-history traits
National Category
Evolutionary Biology Genetics Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-135960DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msx069ISI: 000402061700006PubMedID: 28333233OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-135960DiVA: diva2:1117645
Available from: 2017-06-29 Created: 2017-06-29 Last updated: 2017-06-29Bibliographically approved

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de La Torre, Amanda R.Ingvarsson, Pär K.
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