Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 69, Issue 4, pp 311-318

First online:

The Complete Chloroplast Genome of Coix lacryma-jobi and a Comparative Molecular Evolutionary Analysis of Plastomes in Cereals

  • Charles H. LesebergAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, Northern Illinois University
  • , Melvin R. DuvallAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, Northern Illinois University Email author 

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Graminoid molecular evolution was investigated by chloroplast genome (plastome) scale analyses. A complete plastome from Coix lacryma-jobi (Poaceae) and a draft plastome from Joinvillea plicata (Joinvilleaceae) were sequenced and analyzed. The draft plastome included conserved protein-coding loci routinely analyzed in previous studies plus one additional locus of demonstrated phylogenetic utility. The methodological approach was to directly sequence overlapping amplicons from known plastome regions. Over 100 pairs of amplification and sequencing primers were designed and positioned to flank overlapping 1,200-base pair fragments around the entire plastome. Newly determined sequences were analyzed with published plastomes from representatives of Panicoideae, Ehrhartoideae, and Pooideae. Considerable variation was found for studies within the family and even within Andropogoneae. Readily interpreted mutation patterns were observed, such as small inversions in hairpin-loop regions and indels, which were common in intergenic spacers. Maximum or near-maximum bootstrap support was observed in all analyses resolving relationships between subfamilies. However, the addition of characters from noncoding regions increased the number of parsimony-informative characters and lengthened short internal branches (Andropogoneae), better defining intergeneric relationships. Thus, characters in complete plastomes can be used over a wide scope of phylogenetic studies.


Coix lacryma-jobi Joinvillea plicata Graminoid Poales Plastome Chloroplast genome Indel Inversion