Genes for the convergent evolution of leaf morphology discovered

December 10, 2019

Potential breeding applications

The ancestors of land plants did not have leaves. After these ancestors differentiated into bryophytes, ferns and seed plants, they independently developed leaves as part of their environmental adaptation. Researchers from Tohoku University, Oxford University, RIKEN CSRS and Hiroshima University have reported their joint discovery that different lineages of plants use a common gene, LOS1 (Lateral Organ Suppression 1) to control leaf development and growth. Because leaves arose independently in different plants through convergent evolution, they were considered to be completely different organs among divergent lineages. This research finding overturns currently accepted wisdom and is an important discovery that will help elucidate the mechanisms that form the cornerstone of the diversification and evolution of plant leaves.

As leaf growth is directly linked to plant productivity, these findings are expected to have future applications in gene-focused breeding.

Original article
PLOS Biology doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3000560
S. Naramoto, V. A. S. Jones, N. Trozzi, M. Sato, K. Toyooka, M. Shimamura, S. Ishida, K. Nishitani, K. Ishizaki, R. Nishihama, T. Kohchi, L. Dolan, J. Kyozuka,
"A conserved regulatory mechanism mediates the convergent evolution of plant shoot lateral organs".
Kiminori Toyooka; Senior Technical Scientist
Mayuko Sato; Technical Scientist
Mass Spectrometry and Microscopy Unit