Journal Article

The Complete Chloroplast Genome of <i>Ginkgo biloba</i> Reveals the Mechanism of Inverted Repeat Contraction

Ching-Ping Lin, Chung-Shien Wu, Ya-Yi Huang and Shu-Miaw Chaw

in Genome Biology and Evolution

Published on behalf of Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution

Volume 4, issue 3, pages 374-381
Published in print January 2012 |
Published online March 2012 | e-ISSN: 1759-6653 | DOI:

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We determined the complete chloroplast genome (cpDNA) of Ginkgo biloba (common name: ginkgo), the only relict of ginkgophytes from the Triassic Period. The cpDNA molecule of ginkgo is quadripartite and circular, with a length of 156,945 bp, which is 6,458 bp shorter than that of Cycas taitungensis. In ginkgo cpDNA, rpl23 becomes pseudo, only one copy of ycf2 is retained, and there are at least five editing sites. We propose that the retained ycf2 is a duplicate of the ancestral ycf2, and the ancestral one has been lost from the inverted repeat A (IRA). This loss event should have occurred and led to the contraction of IRs after ginkgos diverged from other gymnosperms. A novel cluster of three transfer RNA (tRNA) genes, trnY-AUA, trnC-ACA, and trnSeC-UCA, was predicted to be located between trnC-GCA and rpoB of the large single-copy region. Our phylogenetic analysis strongly suggests that the three predicted tRNA genes are duplicates of trnC-GCA. Interestingly, in ginkgo cpDNA, the loss of one ycf2 copy does not significantly elevate the synonymous rate (Ks) of the retained copy, which disagrees with the view of Perry and Wolfe (2002) that one of the two-copy genes is subjected to elevated Ks when its counterpart has been lost. We hypothesize that the loss of one ycf2 is likely recent, and therefore, the acquired Ks of the retained copy is low. Our data reveal that ginkgo possesses several unique features that contribute to our understanding of the cpDNA evolution in seed plants.

Keywords: Ginkgo; chloroplast genome; trnSeC; inverted repeat contraction; duplication

Journal Article.  2965 words.  Illustrated.

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

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