About this Research Topic
Flowering plants have experienced a complex evolutionary history over the last 200 million years. Whole genome duplication and inter-species hybridization events, and large-scale rearrangements driven by mobile elements shaped the current genomic variability and drove the large observed diversity of flowering plants. More recently, edible plant species were domesticated in which important traits for food production, such as shattering, seed weight, and flowering time, were selected for, creating new phenotypes and arguably new species.
Grasses (Poaceae) are one of the largest families within monocot flowering plants. Grasses include the most important crops for food security such as rice, maize and wheat, as well as several other economically important crops such as sugar cane and forage crops. The evolutionary history of grasses involves several events of whole genome duplication (WGD) followed by specialization to restore a diploid state. Following a genome duplication in an ancestor to all extent flowering plants (termed epsilon), three rounds of independent ancestral polyploidy events have been described for evolutionary lineages leading to the model eudicot, Arabidopsis (gamma, beta, and alpha), and the grasses (Poaceae; tau, sigma, and rho). Within the Poaceae, more recent, lineage-specific genome duplications, gene duplications and losses, transposon-mediated translocations and hybridization have been described. These processes in addition to massive variation population dynamics and transposon proliferation have contributed to a wide range of genome sizes, gene content and intraspecific genetic variation among grass species.
The availability of long read sequencing protocols and bioinformatic tools for genome assembly allows the reconstruction of entire genomes for a large number of species, providing novel resources to study the evolution of genomes and genes across dense phylogenetic groups. With this research topic, we expect to gather current research findings on the genome evolution of grasses including, but not limited to, the following aspects:
a) Chromosome level genome assemblies of grasses
b) Large scale comparative genomics among Poaceae genomes
c) Gene evolution across grasses for functional genomics
d) Large scale genome rearrangements and mutations selected for during the domestication of grasses
e) Genomic studies in other species that provide insights in the study of grass traits
f) The role of small RNAs in evolution of grass-specific traits or evolutionary adaptation
Please note that the descriptive studies, including those using 'omics approaches, (eg. describing gene families, gene functions or morphological structures, pure applications of DNA barcoding, species descriptions without a phylogenetic framework, or aspects of plant nomenclature) that do not address a clear evolutionary hypothesis will not be considered for review.
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