Jun 21, 2013

Parasitic plants have increased rates of molecular evolution across all three genomes

BMC Evolutionary Biology
Lindell BromhamRobert Lanfear

Abstract

Theoretical models and experimental evidence suggest that rates of molecular evolution could be raised in parasitic organisms compared to non-parasitic taxa. Parasitic plants provide an ideal test for these predictions, as there are at least a dozen independent origins of the parasitic lifestyle in angiosperms. Studies of a number of parasitic plant lineages have suggested faster rates of molecular evolution, but the results of some studies have been mixed. Comparative analysis of all parasitic plant lineages, including sequences from all three genomes, is needed to examine the generality of the relationship between rates of molecular evolution and parasitism in plants. We analysed DNA sequence data from the mitochondrial, nuclear and chloroplast genomes for 12 independent evolutionary origins of parasitism in angiosperms. We demonstrated that parasitic lineages have a faster rate of molecular evolution than their non-parasitic relatives in sequences for all three genomes, for both synonymous and nonsynonymous substitutions. Our results prove that raised rates of molecular evolution are a general feature of parasitic plants, not confined to a few taxa or specific genes. We discuss possible causes for this relationship, includin...Continue Reading

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  • Citations35

References

Mentioned in this Paper

Theoretical Model
Genome
Cell Nucleus
Phylogeny
Liliopsida
Genomics
Mitochondria
Angiosperms
Positive Selection
Parasites

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