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Abstract Detail



Pteridological Section/AFS

Li, Fay-Wei [1], Pryer, Kathleen M [1].

Massive horizontal gene transfer of a chimeric photoreceptor within ferns.

Ferns are well known for their shade-dwelling habits. Their ability to thrive under such low-light conditions has been linked to the evolution of a novel chimeric photoreceptor—neochrome—that fuses red-sensing phytochrome and blue-sensing phototropin modules into a single gene, thereby optimizing phototropic responses. Despite its potential importance in conferring a distinct evolutionary advantage to ferns living under dense canopies, the origin of neochrome has remained a mystery. We recently traced the origin of neochrome to hornworts, and showed that ferns acquired neochrome from hornworts via horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Subsequent phylogenetic analyses further revealed a large-scale discordance­­ between the fern neochrome gene tree and the fern species tree, suggesting additional HGT occurred among ferns. Here we present new genomic evidence supporting rampant fern-to-fern HGT of neochrome. Our finding provides the first evidence that plant-to-plant HGT can have a profound evolutionary impact, and also has implications for the evolution of photosensory systems in plants.


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1 - Duke University, Department of Biology, Box 90338, Durham, NC, 27708, USA

Keywords:
ferns
fern
neochrome
horizontal gene transfer
photoreceptor
hornwort
target enrichment.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 7
Location: Pines North/Boise Centre
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 9:30 AM
Number: 7005
Abstract ID:151
Candidate for Awards:Edgar T. Wherry award


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