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Diversity and evolution of coding and non-coding transcriptomes in flowering plants

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Changes in both protein-coding sequence and gene expression underlie the evolution of phenotypic differences between species (King and Wilson, 1975). Expression levels and patterns of orthologous genes are highly conserved between mammals (Brawand et al., 2011; Merkin et al., 2012). To uncover the evolutionary dynamics of protein-coding and non-coding gene expression in flowering plants, we sequenced the transcriptomes from nine organs across seven species, and compared our results with the published mammalian data sets. We found that gene expression levels evolve rapidly in plants; within 45 million years, expression levels of orthologous genes diverged so strongly that they are more similar between different organs within a species than between homologous organs from different species. Meristematic tissues and leaf show the highest degree of expression conservation, whereas stamen and pollen display the fastest evolving transcriptomes. To make our data easily accessible, we developed a platform for interactive data analysis and visualization.

This talk is part of the Bionformatics in Plant Sciences series.

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