Dodder genome sequencing sheds light on evolution of plant parasitism

phys.org | 7/12/2018 | Staff
chicana948 (Posted by) Level 3
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Most plants absorb sunlight and CO2 with their leaves, take up water and minerals from the soil through roots, and are fully autotrophic. However, parasitic plants are a special class of plants that extract water and nutrients from other plants. The origin and evolution of plant parasitism as well as the specific physiology and ecology of parasitic plants are very interesting topics and much remains to be studied.

Dodders (Cuscuta spp., Convolvulaceae) are globally distributed holoparasites (i.e., they conduct no or very little photosynthesis), and they are root- and leafless. In recent years, dodders have become an important model for studying parasitic plants (Figure). To gain insight into the evolution of dodders, and provide important resources for studying the physiology and ecology of parasitic plants, the laboratory of Dr. WU Jianqiang from the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, combined PacBio sequencing and Illumina transcriptome sequencing technology to obtain a high-quality genome of the dodder Cuscuta australis.

WU - Lab - Genomic - Analyses - C

WU's lab further performed comparative genomic and molecular evolutionary analyses on the C. australis genome. The researchers detected an intriguing pattern of genome evolution in this parasite.

Using genome-wide phylogenetic analysis and synteny information, they found that the ancestor of Cuscuta split from the common ancestor of Cuscuta and Ipomoea 750 million years ago and the common ancestor...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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