Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tulip tree reveals mitochondrial genome of ancestral flowering plant

Date:
April 15, 2013
Source:
BioMed Central Limited
Summary:
The extraordinary level of conservation of the tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) mitochondrial genome has redefined our interpretation of evolution of the angiosperms (flowering plants). This beautiful ‘molecular fossil’ has a remarkably slow mutation rate meaning that its mitochondrial genome has remained largely unchanged since the dinosaurs were roaming Earth.

The extraordinary level of conservation of the tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) mitochondrial genome has redefined our interpretation of evolution of the angiosperms (flowering plants), finds new research.
Credit: Gary Cote

The extraordinary level of conservation of the tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) mitochondrial genome has redefined our interpretation of evolution of the angiosperms (flowering plants), finds research in biomed Central's open access journal BMC Biology. This beautiful 'molecular fossil' has a remarkably slow mutation rate meaning that its mitochondrial genome has remained largely unchanged since the dinosaurs were roaming the Earth.

Evolutionary studies make used of mitochondrial (powerhouse) genomes to identify maternal lineages, for example the human mitochondrial Eve. Among plants, the lack of genomic data from lineages which split away from the main evolutionary branch early on has prevented researchers from reconstructing patterns of genome evolution.

L. tulipifera is native to North America. It belongs to a more unusual group of dicotyledons (plants with two seed leaves) known as magnoliids, which are thought to have diverged early in the evolution of flowing plants.

By sequencing the mitochondrial genome of L. tulipifera, researchers from Indiana University and University of Arkansas discovered that its mitochondrial genome has one of the slowest silent mutation rates (ones which do not affect gene function) of any known genome. Compared to humans the rate is 2000 times slower -- the amount of genomic change in a single human generation would take 50,000 years for the tulip tree. The rate is even slower for magnolia trees, taking 130,000 years for the same amount of mitochondrial genomic change.

Ancestral gene clusters and tRNA genes have been preserved and L. tulipifera still contains many genes lost during the subsequent 200 million years of evolution of flowering plants. In fact one tRNA gene is no longer present in any other sequenced angiosperm.

Prof Jeffrey Palmer who led this study explained, "By using the tulip tree as a guide we are able to estimate that the ancestral angiosperm mitochondrial genome contained 41 protein genes, 14 tRNA genes, seven tRNA genes sequestered from chloroplasts, and more than 700 sites of protein editing. Based on this, it appears that the genome has been more-or-less frozen in time for millions and millions of years."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central Limited. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Aaron O Richardson, Danny W Rice, Gregory J Young, Andrew J Alverson, Jeffrey D Palmer. The "fossilized" mitochondrial genome of Liriodendron tulipifera: Ancestral gene content and order, ancestral editing sites, and extraordinarily low mutation rate. BMC Biology, 2013; 11 (1): 29 DOI: 10.1186/1741-7007-11-29
  2. Ian Small. Mitochondrial genomes as living ‘fossils’. BMC Biology, 2013; 11 (1): 30 DOI: 10.1186/1741-7007-11-30

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central Limited. "Tulip tree reveals mitochondrial genome of ancestral flowering plant." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415100010.htm>.
BioMed Central Limited. (2013, April 15). Tulip tree reveals mitochondrial genome of ancestral flowering plant. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415100010.htm
BioMed Central Limited. "Tulip tree reveals mitochondrial genome of ancestral flowering plant." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415100010.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) A Harvard University study suggests monkeys can use symbols to perform basic math calculations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins