J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2007, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (6): 927-939.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2007.00502.x

• Evolution • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Duplication and Divergence of Floral MADS-Box Genes in Grasses: Evidence for the Generation and Modification of Novel Regulators

Guixia Xu and Hongzhi Kong   

  • Published:2007-06-05


The process of flowering is controlled by a hierarchy of floral genes that act as flowering time genes, inflorescence/floral meristem identity genes, and/or floral organ-identity genes. The most important and well-characterized floral genes are those that belong to the MADS-box family of transcription factors. Compelling evidence suggests that floral MADS-box genes have experienced a few large-scale duplication events. In particular, the pre-core eudicot duplication events have been considered to correlate with the emergence and diversification of core eudicots. Duplication of floral MADS-box genes has also been documented in monocots, particularly in grasses, although a systematic study is lacking. In the present study, by conducting extensive phylogenetic analyses, we identified pre-Poaceae gene duplication events in each of the AP1, PI, AG, AGL11, AGL2/3/4, and AGL9 gene lineages. Comparative genomic studies further indicated that some of these duplications actually resulted from the genome doubling event that occurred 66-70 million years ago (MYA). In addition, we found that after gene duplication, exonization (of intron sequences) and pseudoexonization (of exon sequences) have contributed to the divergence of duplicate genes in sequence structure and, possibly, gene function.

Key words: divergence, Oryza sativa, gene duplication, genome doubling event, grasses, MADS-box genes.

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