? Abstract
Plant Diversity 2017, 39(2) 80-88 DOI:   http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pld.2016.11.005  ISSN: 2096-2703 CN: 53-1233

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Chimaphila japonica

Pyrola decorata
Jiaojun Yu a a,b,c
Chaobo Wang a,b,c
Xun Gong a,b,c*
Article by Jiaojun Yu a,b,c
Article by
Article by
Article by Chaobo Wang a,b,c
Article by
Article by
Article by Xun Gong a,b,c*
Article by
Article by
Article by

Degeneration of photosynthetic capacity in mixotrophic plants, Chimaphila japonica and Pyrola decorata (Ericaceae)

Jiaojun Yu a,b,c, , Chaobo Wang  a,b,c, , Xun Gong a,b,c*

Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201, PR China
Yunnan Key Laboratory for Wild Plant Resources, Kunming 650201, PR China
Key Laboratory of Economic Plants and Biotechnology, Kunming Institute of Botany, Kunming, PR China


The evolution of photosynthesis is an important feature of mixotrophic plants. Previous inferences proposed that mixotrophic taxa tend to retain most genes relating to photosynthetic functions but vary in plastid gene content. However, no sequence data are available to test this hypothesis in Ericaceae. To investigate changes in plastid genomes that may result from a transition from autotrophy to mixotrophy, the plastomes of two mixotrophic plants, Pyrola decorata and Chimaphila japonica, were sequenced at Illumina's Genome Analyzer and compared to the published plastome of the autotrophic plant Rhododendron simsii, which also belongs to Ericaceae. The greatest discrepancy between mixotrophic and autotrophic plants was that ndh genes for both P. decorata and C. japonica plastomes have nearly all
become pseudogenes. P. decorata and C. japonica also retained all genes directly involved in photosyn-thesis under strong selection. The calculated rate of nonsynonymous nucleotide substitutions and synonymous substitutions of protein-coding genes (dN/dS) showed that substitution rates in shade plants
were apparently higher than those in sunlight plants. The two mixotrophic plastomes were generally very similar to that of non-parasitic plants, although ndh genes were largely pseudogenized. Photosynthesis genes under strong selection were retained in the two mixotrophs, however, with greatly increased substitution rates. Further research is needed to gain a clearer understanding of the evolution of autotrophy and mixotrophy in Ericaceae.

Keywords Chimaphila japonica  
Pyrola decorata
Received 2016-07-06 Revised 2016-11-21 Online:  
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pld.2016.11.005
Corresponding Authors: Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201, PR China.
Email: gongxun@mail.kib.ac.cn
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