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Analysis of ATP6 sequence diversity in the Triticum–Aegilops species group reveals the crucial role of rearrangement in mitochondrial genome evolution

Soltani, Ali, Ghavami, Farhad, Mergoum, Mohamed, Hegstad, Justin, Noyszewski, Andrzej, Meinhardt, Steven, Kianian, Shahryar F.
Genome 2014 v.57 no.5 pp. 279-288
chromosome aberrations, cultivars, gene duplication, genes, genetic variation, mitochondrial genome, natural selection, point mutation, transcription (genetics), wheat
Mutation and chromosomal rearrangements are the two main forces of increasing genetic diversity for natural selection to act upon, and ultimately drive the evolutionary process. Although genome evolution is a function of both forces, simultaneously, the ratio of each can be varied among different genomes and genomic regions. It is believed that in plant mitochondrial genome, rearrangements play a more important role than point mutations, but relatively few studies have directly addressed this phenomenon. To address this issue, we isolated and sequenced the ATP6-1 and ATP6-2 genes from 46 different euplasmic and alloplasmic wheat lines. Four different ATP6-1 orthologs were detected, two of them reported for the first time. Expression analysis revealed that all four orthologs are transcriptionally active. Results also indicated that both point mutation and genomic rearrangement are involved in the evolution of ATP6. However, rearrangement is the predominant force that triggers drastic variation. Data also indicated that speciation of domesticated wheat cultivars were simultaneous with the duplication of this gene. These results directly support the notion that rearrangement plays a significant role in driving plant mitochondrial genome evolution.