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J Plant Res. 2007 Mar;120(2):281-90. Epub 2007 Feb 13.

The chloroplast genome from a lycophyte (microphyllophyte), Selaginella uncinata, has a unique inversion, transpositions and many gene losses.

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  • 1Division of Functional Genomics, Advanced Science Research Center, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan.


We determined the complete nucleotide sequence of the chloroplast genome of Selaginella uncinata, a lycophyte belonging to the basal lineage of the vascular plants. The circular double-stranded DNA is 144,170 bp, with an inverted repeat of 25,578 bp separated by a large single copy region (LSC) of 77,706 bp and a small single copy region (SSC) of 40,886 bp. We assigned 81 protein-coding genes including four pseudogenes, four rRNA genes and only 12 tRNA genes. Four genes, rps15, rps16, rpl32 and ycf10, found in most chloroplast genomes in land plants were not present in S. uncinata. While gene order and arrangement of the chloroplast genome of another lycophyte, Hupertzia lucidula, are almost the same as those of bryophytes, those of S. uncinata differ considerably from the typical structure of bryophytes with respect to the presence of a unique 20 kb inversion within the LSC, transposition of two segments from the LSC to the SSC and many gene losses. Thus, the organization of the S. uncinata chloroplast genome provides a new insight into the evolution of lycophytes, which were separated from euphyllophytes approximately 400 million years ago.

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