Journal Article

Comparative Chloroplast Genomes of Pinaceae: Insights into the Mechanism of Diversified Genomic Organizations

Chung-Shien Wu, Ching-Ping Lin, Chi-Yao Hsu, Rui-Jiang Wang and Shu-Miaw Chaw

in Genome Biology and Evolution

Published on behalf of Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution

Volume 3, issue , pages 309-319
Published in print January 2011 |
Published online March 2011 | e-ISSN: 1759-6653 | DOI:

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Genetics and Genomics


Show Summary Details


Pinaceae, the largest family of conifers, has diversified organizations of chloroplast genomes (cpDNAs) with the two typical inverted repeats (IRs) highly reduced. To unravel the mechanism of this genomic diversification, we examined the cpDNA organizations from 53 species of the ten Pinaceous genera, including those of Larix decidua (122,474 bp), Picea morrisonicola (124,168 bp), and Pseudotsuga wilsoniana (122,513 bp), which were firstly elucidated. The results uncovered four distinct cpDNA forms (A−C and P) that are due to rearrangements of two ∼20 and ∼21 kb specific fragments. The C form was documented for the first time and the A form might be the most ancestral one. In addition, only the individuals of Ps. macrocarpa and Ps. wilsoniana were detected to have isomeric cpDNA forms. Three types (types 1−3) of Pinaceae-specific repeats situated nearby the rearranged fragments were found to be syntenic. We hypothesize that type 1 (949 ± 343 bp) and type 3 (608 ± 73 bp) repeats are substrates for homologous recombination (HR), whereas type 2 repeats are likely inactive for HR because of their relatively short sizes (151 ± 30 bp). Conversions among the four distinct forms may be achieved by HR and mediated by type 1 or 3 repeats, thus resulting in increased diversity of cpDNA organizations. We propose that in the Pinaceae cpDNAs, the reduced IRs have lost HR activity, then decreasing the diversity of cpDNA organizations, but the specific repeats that the evolution endowed Pinaceae complement the reduced IRs and increase the diversity of cpDNA organizations.

Keywords: Pinaceae; chloroplast genome; isoform; repeat; structural evolution

Journal Article.  5343 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Bioinformatics and Computational Biology ; Evolutionary Biology ; Genetics and Genomics

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.