Wang X, Tang H, Paterson AH
Seventy Million Years of Concerted Evolution of a Homoeologous chromosome Pair, In Parallel, In Major Poaceae Lineages.
The Plant cell. 2011 Jan 01; 23: 27-37.
Whole genome duplication ~70 million years ago provided raw material for Poaceae (grass) diversification. Comparison of rice (Oryza sativa), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), maize (Zea mays), and Brachypodium distachyon genomes revealed that one paleo-duplicated chromosome pair has experienced very different evolution than all the others. For tens of millions of years, the two chromosomes have experienced illegitimate recombination that has been temporally restricted in a stepwise manner, producing structural stratification in the chromosomes. These strata formed independently in different grass lineages, with their similarities (low sequence divergence between paleo-duplicated genes) preserved in parallel for millions of years since the divergence of these lineages. The pericentromeric region of this homeologous chromosome pair accounts for two-thirds of the gene content differences between the modern chromosomes. Both intriguing and perplexing is a distal chromosomal region with the greatest DNA similarity between surviving duplicated genes but also with the highest concentration of lineage-specific gene pairs found anywhere in these genomes and with a significantly elevated gene evolutionary rate. Intragenomic similarity near this chromosomal terminus may be important in hom(e)ologous chromosome pairing. Chromosome structural stratification, together with enrichment of autoimmune response-related (nucleotide binding site-leucine-rich repeat) genes and accelerated DNA rearrangement and gene loss, confer a striking resemblance of this grass chromosome pair to the sex chromosomes of other taxa.