Ancient duplication of cereal genomes.

The discovery of multiple ancient polyploidization events in Arabidopsis (Vision et al. 2000; Simillion et al., 2002; Bowers et al., 2003) foreshadowed the finding that Oryza (rice), too, had undergone extensive ancient duplication of its chromatin. Although the possibility of duplication in the rice genome had been suggested long ago, early studies of the sequence raised questions about whether rice was an ancient aneuploid (Vandepoele et al., 2003) or paleo-polyploid across its entire genome (Paterson et al., 2003). In this issue, Wang et al. (pp. 937946), contribute to a resolution of this question by using an independent assembly of a divergent rice subspecies, generally supporting the occurrence of a whole-genome duplication although some questions still remain unanswered. Using independent dating approaches, Wang et al. also support prior estimates (Paterson et al., 2004) that this event occurred about 70 million yr ago, suggesting that it has affected the genome organization of virtually all of the worlds cereal crops.

Paterson, A.H., Bowers, J. E., Van de Peer, Y., Vandepoele, K. (2005) Ancient duplication of cereal genomes. . New Phytol. 165(3):658-61.

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