Using phylogenomic patterns and gene ontology to identify proteins of importance in plant evolution

Angelica Cibrian-Jaramillo, Jose E. De La Torre-Bárcenaf, Ernest K. Lee, Manpreet S. Katari, Damon P. Little, Dennis W. Stevenson, Rob Martienssen, Gloria M. Coruzzi, Rob Desalle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We use measures of congruence on a combined expressed sequenced tag genome phylogeny to identify proteins that have potential significance in the evolution of seed plants. Relevant proteins are identified based on the direction of partitioned branch and hidden support on the hypothesis obtained on a 16-species tree, constructed from 2,557 concatenated orthologous genes. We provide a general method for detecting genes or groups of genes that may be under selection in directions that are in agreement with the phylogenetic pattern. Gene partitioning methods and estimates of the degree and direction of support of individual gene partitions to the overall data set are used. Using this approach, we correlate positive branch support of specific genes for key branches in the seed plant phylogeny. In addition to basic metabolic functions, such as photosynthesis or hormones, genes involved in posttranscriptional regulation by small RNAs were significantly overrepresented in key nodes of the phylogeny of seed plants. Two genes in our matrix are of critical importance as they are involved in RNA-dependent regulation, essential during embryo and leaf development. These are Argonaute and the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase 6 found to be overrepresented in the angiosperm clade. We use these genes as examples of our phylogenomics approach and show that identifying partitions or genes in this way provides a platform to explain some of the more interesting organismal differences among species, and in particular, in the evolution of plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-239
Number of pages15
JournalGenome biology and evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010


  • Gene ontology
  • Micro-RNAs
  • Orthologs
  • Partition metrics
  • Phylogenomics
  • Small interfering RNAs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics


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