What we’re reading (under the tree)

Pine tree

Buschiazzo, E., Ritland, C., Bohlmann, J. & Ritland, K. 2012. Slow but not low: genomic comparisons reveal slower evolutionary rate and higher dN/dS in conifers compared to angiosperms. BMC Evolutionary Biology 12: 8. doi: 10.1186/1471-2148-12-8

Using a fossil-established divergence time of 140 million years between spruce and pine, we extrapolated a nucleotide substitution rate of 0.68 × 10-9 synonymous substitutions per site per year. When compared to angiosperms, this indicates a dramatically slower rate of nucleotide substitution rates in conifers: on average 15-fold. Coincidentally, we found a three-fold higher dN/dS for the spruce-pine lineage compared to the poplar-Arabidopsis lineage. This joint occurrence of a slower evolutionary rate in conifers with higher dN/dS, and possibly positive selection, showcases the uniqueness of conifer genome evolution.

In the blogosphere

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How Santa keeps tabs on bioinformaticians.

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About Jeremy Yoder

Jeremy Yoder is a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Minnesota. He also blogs at Denim and Tweed and Nothing in Biology Makes Sense!, and tweets under the handle @jbyoder.
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