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Trends Genet. 2001 Mar;17(3):113-20.

How many genes in Arabidopsis come from cyanobacteria? An estimate from 386 protein phylogenies.

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Institute of Botany III, Universität Düsseldorf, Universitätsstr. 1, D-40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.


It is well known that chloroplasts and mitochondria donated many genes to nuclear chromosomes during evolution - but how many is "many"? A sample of 3961 Arabidopsis nuclear protein-coding genes was compared with the complete set of proteins from yeast and 17 reference prokaryotic genomes, including one cyanobacterium (the lineage from which plastids arose). The analysis of 386 phylogenetic trees distilled from these data suggests that between approximately 400 (1.6%) and approximately 2200 (9.2%) of Arabidopsis nuclear genes stem from cyanobacteria. The degree of conservation preserved in protein sequences in addition to lateral gene transfer between free-living prokaryotes pose substantial challenges to genome phylogenetics.

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