The rapidly accumulating genome sequence data from the plant Arabidopsis thaliana allows more detailed analysis of genome content and organisation than ever before possible in plants. The genome shows a surprisingly high level of genetic redundancy, with as many as 75% of gene products showing significant homology to another protein of A. thaliana. Many duplicated genes occur in arrays of conserved order and indicate that A. thaliana is likely to have had a tetraploid ancestor. Analysis of the divergence of duplicated genome segments leads to the prediction of two major modes of plant genome evolution: macro-scale duplication and rearrangement of chromosomes and micro-scale translocations, duplication and loss of individual genes or small groups of genes.
Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.