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Nat Genet. 2017 Apr;49(4):490-496. doi: 10.1038/ng.3813. Epub 2017 Mar 13.

Reconstructing the genome of the most recent common ancestor of flowering plants.

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INRA/UCA UMR 1095 GDEC 'Génétique, Diversité et Ecophysiologie des Céréales', Group PaleoEVO 'Paleogenomics and Evolution', Clermont Ferrand, France.
INRA GenoToul Bioinformatics, Castanet Tolosan, France.


We describe here the reconstruction of the genome of the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of modern monocots and eudicots, accounting for 95% of extant angiosperms, with its potential repertoire of 22,899 ancestral genes conserved in present-day crops. The MRCA provides a starting point for deciphering the reticulated evolutionary plasticity between species (rapidly versus slowly evolving lineages), subgenomes (pre- versus post-duplication blocks), genomic compartments (stable versus labile loci), genes (ancestral versus species-specific genes) and functions (gained versus lost ontologies), the key mutational forces driving the success of polyploidy in crops. The estimation of the timing of angiosperm evolution, based on MRCA genes, suggested that this group emerged 214 million years ago during the late Triassic era, before the oldest recorded fossil. Finally, the MRCA constitutes a unique resource for scientists to dissect major agronomic traits in translational genomics studies extending from model species to crops.

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