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Algae > Volume 17(1); 2002 > Article
Algae 2002;17(1): 53-58. doi: https://doi.org/10.4490/ALGAE.2002.17.1.053
Four Embryophyte Introns and psbB Operon Indicate Chlorokybus as a Basal Streptophyte Lineage
Jungho Lee, James R. Manhart
Institute of Systematic Botany, University of Ziirich, Department of Biology, Texas A&M University
The transition of plant life from aquatic algae to land plants was one of the major events in the history of life. However, in hypothesizing the exact evolutionary path of the transition, limited shared phenotypic characters in aquatic algae and land plants (embryophytes) have been a major hinderance. Chloroplast genomes contain characters useful in tracing evolutionary histories. Embryophyte chloroplast genomes are distinguished from algal cpDNAs by having over 20 group II introns, some of which were gained during the transition from algae to embryophytes (Manhart and Palmer 1990; Lew and Manhart 1993; Lee and Manhart 2002). Here we examine a gene cluster that, in land plants, contains psbB, psbT, psbH, petB and petD with introns found in petB and petD (petB.i and petD.i). In addition the presence/absence of introns in trnA and trnI (trnA.i and trnI.i) were determined in all five major lineages of charophytes. We found that the psbB gene cluster occurs in most surveyed charophytes and embryophytes except Spirogyra (Zygnematales) which lacks it due to intra-genomic rearrangement. All four introns are absent in Chlorokybus but present in some or all of the other four charophyte lineages (Klebsormidiales, Zygnematales, Coleochaetales, and Charales). In addition, Chlorokybus is distinguished from other charophytes and embryophytes by having an unusually long spacer (over 2 kb) between psbH-petB. The results indicate that Chlorokybus diverged before the intron gains but after psbB gene cluster formation, placing the other charophyte lineages closer to embryophytes.
Key words: charophytes, Chlorokybus, group II intron, petB, petD, psbB operon, streptophytes, trnA, trnI

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