Contrasting evolutionary dynamics between angiosperm and mammalian genomes

Published: TRENDS IN ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION 24, 572-582 Authors: Kejnovsky, E., Leitch, IJ., Leitch, AR. Year: 2009


Continuing advances in genomics are revealing substantial differences between genomes of major eukaryotic lineages. Because most data (in terms of depth and phylogenetic breadth) are available for angiosperms and mammals, we explore differences between these groups and show that angiosperms have less highly compartmentalized and more diverse genomes than mammals. In considering the causes of these differences, four mechanisms are highlighted: polyploidy, recombination, retrotransposition and genome silencing, which have different modes and time scales of activity. Angiosperm genomes are evolutionarily more dynamic and labile, whereas mammalian genomes are more stable at both the sequence and chromosome level. We suggest that fundamentally different life strategies and development feedback on the genome exist, influencing dynamics and evolutionary trajectories at all levels from the gene to the genome.