Selective pressure exerted by a massive decline in atmospheric CO(2) levels 55 to 40 million years ago promoted the evolution of a novel, highly efficient mode of photosynthetic carbon assimilation known as C(4) photosynthesis. C(4) species have concurrently evolved multiple times in a broad range of plant families, and this multiple and parallel evolution of the complex C(4) trait indicates a common underlying evolutionary mechanism that might be elucidated by comparative analyses of related C(3) and C(4) species. Here, we use mRNA-Seq analysis of five species within the genus Flaveria, ranging from C(3) to C(3)-C(4) intermediate to C(4) species, to quantify the differences in the transcriptomes of closely related plant species with varying degrees of C(4)-associated characteristics. Single gene analysis defines the C(4) cycle enzymes and transporters more precisely and provides new candidates for yet unknown functions as well as identifies C(4) associated pathways. Molecular evidence for a photorespiratory CO(2) pump prior to the establishment of the C(4) cycle-based CO(2) pump is provided. Cluster analysis defines the upper limit of C(4)-related gene expression changes in mature leaves of Flaveria as 3582 alterations.