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Nat Commun. 2018 Jul 11;9(1):2683. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04721-8.

Large-scale gene losses underlie the genome evolution of parasitic plant Cuscuta australis.

Author information

1
Department of Economic Plants and Biotechnology, Yunnan Key Laboratory for Wild Plant Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, 650201, China.
2
Institute of Plant Stress Biology, State Key Laboratory of Cotton Biology, Department of Biology, Henan University, Kaifeng, 475001, China.
3
The Germplasm Bank of Wild Species, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, 650201, China.
4
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China.
5
Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, 07745, Germany.
6
Department of Economic Plants and Biotechnology, Yunnan Key Laboratory for Wild Plant Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, 650201, China. wujianqiang@mail.kib.ac.cn.

Abstract

Dodders (Cuscuta spp., Convolvulaceae) are root- and leafless parasitic plants. The physiology, ecology, and evolution of these obligate parasites are poorly understood. A high-quality reference genome of Cuscuta australis was assembled. Our analyses reveal that Cuscuta experienced accelerated molecular evolution, and Cuscuta and the convolvulaceous morning glory (Ipomoea) shared a common whole-genome triplication event before their divergence. C. australis genome harbors 19,671 protein-coding genes, and importantly, 11.7% of the conserved orthologs in autotrophic plants are lost in C. australis. Many of these gene loss events likely result from its parasitic lifestyle and the massive changes of its body plan. Moreover, comparison of the gene expression patterns in Cuscuta prehaustoria/haustoria and various tissues of closely related autotrophic plants suggests that Cuscuta haustorium formation requires mostly genes normally involved in root development. The C. australis genome provides important resources for studying the evolution of parasitism, regressive evolution, and evo-devo in plant parasites.

PMID:
29992948
PMCID:
PMC6041341
DOI:
10.1038/s41467-018-04721-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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