Selection for higher gene copy number after different types of plant gene duplications


The evolutionary origins of the multitude of duplicate genes in the plant genomes are still incompletely understood. To gain an appreciation of the potential selective forces acting on these duplicates, we phylogenetically inferred the set of metabolic gene families from 10 flowering plant (angiosperm) genomes. We then compared the metabolic fluxes for these families, predicted using the Arabidopsis thaliana and Sorghum bicolor metabolic networks, with the families' duplication propensities. For duplications produced by both small scale (small-scale duplications) and genome duplication (whole-genome duplications), there is a significant association between the flux and the tendency to duplicate. Following this global analysis, we made a more fine-scale study of the selective constraints observed on plant sodium and phosphate transporters. We find that the different duplication mechanisms give rise to differing selective constraints. However, the exact nature of this pattern varies between the gene families, and we argue that the duplication mechanism alone does not define a duplicated gene's subsequent evolutionary trajectory. Collectively, our results argue for the interplay of history, function, and selection in shaping the duplicate gene evolution in plants. © The Author(s) 2010.

Publication Title

Genome Biology and Evolution