Reconstruction of monocotelydoneous proto-chromosomes reveals faster evolution in plants than in animals

Jérôme Salse, Michael Abrouk, Stéphanie Bolot, Nicolas Guilhot, Emmanuel Courcelle, Thomas Faraut, Robbie Waugh, Timothy J. Close, Joachim Messing, Catherine Feuillet

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    126 Citations (Scopus)


    Paleogenomics seeks to reconstruct ancestral genomes from the genes of today's species. The characterization of paleo-duplications represented by 11,737 orthologs and 4,382 paralogs identified in five species belonging to three of the agronomically most important subfamilies of grasses, that is, Ehrhartoideae (rice) Panicoideae (sorghum, maize), and Pooideae (wheat, barley), permitted us to propose a model for an ancestral genome with a minimal size of 33.6 Mb structured in five proto-chromosomes containing at least 9,138 predicted proto-genes. It appears that only four major evolutionary shuffling events (α, β, γ, and δ) explain the divergence of these five cereal genomes during their evolution from a common paleo-ancestor. Comparative analysis of ancestral gene function with rice as a reference indicated that five categories of genes were preferentially modified during evolution. Furthermore, alignments between the five grass proto-chromosomes and the recently identified seven eudicot proto-chromosomes indicated that additional very active episodes of genome rearrangements and gene mobility occurred during angiosperm evolution. If one compares the pace of primate evolution of 90 million years (233 species) to 60 million years of the Poaceae (10,000 species), change in chromosome structure through speciation has accelerated significantly in plants.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)14908-14913
    Number of pages6
    JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    Issue number35
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2009


    • Grasses
    • Paleogenomics

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General


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