The plant cell wall is a complex and dynamic structure composed of numerous different molecules that play multiple roles in all aspects of plant life. Currently, a new frontier in biotechnology is opening up, which is providing new insights into the structural and functional diversity of cell walls, and is thus serving to re-emphasize the significance of cell wall divergence in the evolutionary history of plant species. The ever-increasing availability of plant genome datasets will thus provide an invaluable basis for enhancing our knowledge regarding the diversity of cell walls among different plant species. In this review, as an example of a comparative genomics approach, I examine the diverse patterns of cell wall gene families among 100 species of green plants, and illustrate the evident benefits of using genome databases for studying cell wall divergence. Given that the growth and development of all types of plant cells are intimately associated with cell wall dynamics, gaining a further understanding of the functional diversity of cell walls in relation to diverse biological events will make significant contributions to a broad range of plant sciences.
Keywords: cell wall enzyme; comparative analysis; dynamic structure; evolution; gene family; genome; plant cell wall; polysaccharide.