Reinforcing plant evolutionary genomics using ancient DNA

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2017 Apr;36:38-45. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2017.01.002. Epub 2017 Feb 1.


Improved understanding of ancient DNA (aDNA) biochemical properties coupled with application of next generation sequencing (NGS) methods enabled sequencing and authenticating genomes of historical samples. This advancement ignited a revolution in plant evolutionary genomics by allowing direct observations of past molecular diversity. Analyses of genomes sequenced from temporally distributed samples of Gossypium sp., Phytophthora infestans and Arabidopsis thaliana improved our understanding of the evolutionary rates and time scales at which genome remodeling takes place. Comparison of historical samples of barley (Hordeum vulgare) and maize (Zea mays ssp. mays) with their present-day counterparts enabled assessment of selection during different stages of domestication. These examples show how aDNA already improved our evolutionary inferences. Increasing quality and amount of sequencing data retrieved from historical plants will further advance our understanding of plant evolution.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Ancient*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genome, Plant*
  • Genomics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • DNA, Ancient