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Abstract Detail


The Greatest Opportunists of all: Celebrating 40 years of Job Kuijt’s

Davis, III, Charles C. [1].

Horizontal gene transfer and the humble origins of the world's largest flowers, Rafflesiaceae.

Holoparasitic Rafflesiaceae possess the world's largest flowers (up to 1 meter in diameter), and have been recently shown to have been derived from within Euphorbiaceae, the spurge family. Most euphorbs produce minute flowers, suggesting that the enormous flowers of Rafflesiaceae evolved from ancestors with tiny flowers. Recent evidence using comparative methods supports the conclusion that floral gigantism within Rafflesiaceae occurred rapidly, making this one of the most dramatic cases of size evolution reported for eukaryotes. The first goal of our seminar seeks to examine why floral size increase may have been so rapid within this group. In addition, Rafflesiaceae appears to be especially prone to horizontal gene transfer, which is likely facilitated more generally by the intimate association between parasites and their hosts. Phylogenetic relationships of gene trees from several studies within this group are strikingly different from expected species tree relationships, i.e., some DNA sequence data obtained from Rafflesiaceae is placed phylogenetically very near to their obligate hosts rather than with their closest relatives. The second goal of our seminar seeks to explore these patterns of horizontal gene transfer in Rafflesiaceae.


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Related Links:
Davis Lab Website


1 - Harvard University, Department of Organismal and Evoloutionary Biology, 22 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, MA, 02138

Keywords:
horizontal gene transfer
holoparasite
molecular evolution
Malpighiales.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: SY11
Location: Cottonwood A/Snowbird Center
Date: Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
Time: 3:45 PM
Number: SY11007
Abstract ID:855


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