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The extremely reduced, diverged and reconfigured plastomes of the largest mycoheterotrophic orchid lineage
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Wen YY#, Qin Y#, Shao BY, Li JW, Ma CB, Liu Y*, Yang BY*, Jin XH*
PubYear : 2022
Volume : 22  Issue : 1
Publication Name : BMC Plant Biology
Page number : 48
Abstract : 


Plastomes of heterotrophic plants have been greatly altered in structure and gene content, owing to the relaxation of selection on photosynthesis-related genes. The orchid tribe Gastrodieae is the largest and probably the oldest mycoheterotrophic clade of the extant family Orchidaceae. To characterize plastome evolution across members of this key important mycoheterotrophic lineage, we sequenced and analyzed the plastomes of eleven Gastrodieae members, including representative species of two genera, as well as members of the sister group Nervilieae.


The plastomes of Gastrodieae members contain 20 protein-coding, four rRNA and five tRNA genes. Evolutionary analysis indicated that all rrn genes were transferred laterally and together, forming an rrn block in the plastomes of Gastrodieae. The plastome GC content of Gastrodia species ranged from 23.10% (G. flexistyla) to 25.79% (G. javanica). The plastome of Didymoplexis pallens contains two copies each of ycf1 and ycf2. The synonymous and nonsynonymous substitution rates were very high in the plastomes of Gastrodieae among mycoheterotrophic species in Orchidaceae and varied between genes.


The plastomes of Gastrodieae are greatly reduced and characterized by low GC content, rrn block formation, lineage-specific reconfiguration and gene content, which might be positively selected. Overall, the plastomes of Gastrodieae not only serve as an excellent model for illustrating the evolution of plastomes but also provide new insights into plastome evolution in parasitic plants.

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