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Convergent evolution of gene regulatory networks underlying plant adaptations to dry environments
  • Mariana Artur,
  • Kaisa Kajala
Mariana Artur
Utrecht University
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Kaisa Kajala
Utrecht University
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Abstract

Plants transitioned from an aquatic to a terrestrial lifestyle during their evolution. On land, fluctuations on water availability in the environment became one of the major problems they encountered. The appearance of morpho-physiological adaptations to cope with and tolerate water loss from the cells was undeniably useful to survive on dry land. Some of these adaptations, such as carbon concentrating mechanisms (CCMs), desiccation tolerance (DT) and root impermeabilization, appeared in multiple plant lineages. Despite being crucial for evolution on land, it has been unclear how these adaptations convergently evolved in the various plant lineages. Recent advances on whole genome and transcriptome sequencing are revealing that co-option of genes and gene regulatory networks (GRNs) is a common feature underlying the convergent evolution of these adaptations. In this review we address how the study of CCMs and DT have provided insight into convergent evolution of GRNs underlying plant adaptation to dry environments, and how these insights could be applied to currently emerging understanding of evolution of root impermeabilization through different barrier cell types. We discuss examples of co-option, conservation, and innovation of genes and GRNs at the cell, tissue and organ levels revealed by recent phylogenomic (comparative genomic) and comparative transcriptomic studies.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

08 Jun 2021Submitted to Plant, Cell & Environment
08 Jun 2021Assigned to Editor
08 Jun 2021Submission Checks Completed
17 Jun 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
25 Jun 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
26 Jun 2021Editorial Decision: Accept