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Plant Physiol. 2011 Apr;155(4):2081-95. doi: 10.1104/pp.110.169599. Epub 2011 Feb 2.

Comparative evolution of photosynthetic genes in response to polyploid and nonpolyploid duplication.

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Department of Plant Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853-4301, USA.


The likelihood of duplicate gene retention following polyploidy varies by functional properties (e.g. gene ontologies or protein family domains), but little is known about the effects of whole-genome duplication on gene networks related by a common physiological process. Here, we examined the effects of both polyploid and nonpolyploid duplications on genes encoding the major functional groups of photosynthesis (photosystem I, photosystem II, the light-harvesting complex, and the Calvin cycle) in the cultivated soybean (Glycine max), which has experienced two rounds of whole-genome duplication. Photosystem gene families exhibit retention patterns consistent with dosage sensitivity (preferential retention of polyploid duplicates and elimination of nonpolyploid duplicates), whereas Calvin cycle and light-harvesting complex gene families do not. We observed similar patterns in barrel medic (Medicago truncatula), which shared the older genome duplication with soybean but has evolved independently for approximately 50 million years, and in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), which experienced two nested polyploidy events independent from the legume duplications. In both soybean and Arabidopsis, Calvin cycle gene duplicates exhibit a greater capacity for functional differentiation than do duplicates within the photosystems, which likely explains the greater retention of ancient, nonpolyploid duplicates and larger average gene family size for the Calvin cycle relative to the photosystems.

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