Chloroplast genomes: diversity, evolution, and applications in genetic engineering

Genome Biol. 2016 Jun 23;17(1):134. doi: 10.1186/s13059-016-1004-2.


Chloroplasts play a crucial role in sustaining life on earth. The availability of over 800 sequenced chloroplast genomes from a variety of land plants has enhanced our understanding of chloroplast biology, intracellular gene transfer, conservation, diversity, and the genetic basis by which chloroplast transgenes can be engineered to enhance plant agronomic traits or to produce high-value agricultural or biomedical products. In this review, we discuss the impact of chloroplast genome sequences on understanding the origins of economically important cultivated species and changes that have taken place during domestication. We also discuss the potential biotechnological applications of chloroplast genomes.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chloroplasts / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genome, Chloroplast / genetics*
  • Genome, Plant
  • Phylogeny
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Transgenes / genetics