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Richly, Erik; Kurth, Joachim and Leister, Dario (2002): Mode of Amplification and Reorganization of Resistance Genes During Recent Arabidopsis thaliana Evolution. In: Molecular biology and evolution, Vol. 19, No. 1: pp. 76-84 [PDF, 572kB]


The NBS-LRR (nucleotide-binding site plus leucine-rich repeat) genes represent the major class of disease resistance genes in flowering plants and comprise 166 genes in the ecotype Col-0 of Arabidopsis thaliana. NBS-LRR genes are organized in single-gene loci, clusters, and superclusters. Phylogenetic analysis reveals nine monophyletic clades and a few phylogenetic orphans. Most clusters contain only genes from the same phylogenetic lineage, reflecting their origin from the exchange of sequence blocks as a result of intralocus recombination. Multiple duplications increased the number of NBS-LRR genes in the progenitors of Arabidopsis, suggesting that the present complexity in Col-0 may derive from as few as 17 progenitors. The combination of physical and phylogenetic analyses of the NBS-LRR genes makes it possible to detect relatively recent gene rearrangements, which increased the number of NBS-LRR genes by about 50, but which are almost never associated with large segmental duplications. The identification of 10 heterogeneous clusters containing members from different clades demonstrates that sequence sampling between different resistance gene loci and clades has occurred. Such events may have taken place early during flowering plant evolution, but they generated modules that have been duplicated and remobilized also more recently.

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