Diverged Copies of the Seed Regulatory Opaque-2 Gene by a Segmental Duplication in the Progenitor Genome of Rice, Sorghum, and Maize

Jian-Hong Xu; Joachim Messing
September 2008
Molecular Plant (Oxford University Press / USA);Sep2008, Vol. 1 Issue 5, p760
Academic Journal
Comparative analyses of the sequence of entire genomes have shown that gene duplications, chromosomal segmental duplications, or even whole genome duplications (WGD) have played prominent roles in the evolution of many eukaryotic species. Here, we used the ancient duplication of a well known transcription factor in maize, encoded by the Opaque-2 (O2) locus, to examine the general features of divergences of chromosomal segmental duplications in a lineage-specific manner. We took advantage of contiguous chromosomal sequence information in rice (Oryza sativa, Nipponbare), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor, Btx623), and maize (Zea mays, B73) that were aligned by conserved gene order (synteny). This analysis showed that the maize O2 locus is contained within a 1.25 million base-pair (Mb) segment on chromosome 7, which was duplicated ≈56 million years ago (mya) before the split of rice and maize 50 mya. The duplicated region on chromosome 1 is only half the size and contains the maize OHP gene, which does not restore the o2 mutation although it encodes a protein with the same DNA and protein binding properties in endosperm. The segmental duplication is not only found in rice, but also in sorghum, which split from maize 11.9 mya. A detailed analysis of the duplicated regions provided examples for complex rearrangements including deletions, duplications, conversions, inversions, and translocations. Furthermore, the rice and sorghum genomes appeared to be more stable than the maize genome, probably because maize underwent allotetraploidization and then diploidization.


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