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Gene duplication, neofunctionalization, and the evolution of C4 photosynthesis
MONSON Russell K.
The evolution of C4 photosynthesis provides one of the most interesting examples of evolutionary novelty in plants. As an adaptation that enhances plant carbon gain in warm climates with high light and relatively low atmospheric CO2 concentration, the complex interactions between C4 anatomy and biochemistry appear to have evolved over thirty times independently within the angiosperms. Past theories have explained the multiple appearances of C4 photosynthesis solely on the basis of global decreases in atmospheric CO2-concentration during the past 50 million years. The premise of such theories is that the C4 pathway provides selective advantages in terms of plant carbon gain in an atmosphere of low CO2 concentration. These "carbon balance" theories, however, are limited in their ability to explain why or how C4 photosynthesis evolved so many times independently and why certain patterns in the taxonomic distribution of C4 photosynthesis exist; e.g., the absence of C4 photosynthesis in canopy-forming forest tree species and the paucity of C4 species within eudicots compared to monocots. In this review, I present the case that one of the most often overlooked aspects of C4 evolution is the potential for genetic limitation, specifically that associated with gene duplication and subsequent modification, which is crucial to the evolution of C4 biochemistry. I describe the research to date that provides insight in
University of Chicago Press
ISSN : 1058-5893 CODEN : IPLSE2
International journal of plant sciences A. 2003, vol. 164, SUP, pp. S43-S54
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