Analysis of spruce genomes reveals important evolutionary mechanisms related to adaptation

The genomes of new spruce species have just been deciphered. Notwithstanding their size seven times that of the human genome (thus among the largest genomes in the living world), the study confirmed that the largest part of their genomes is made up of repeated and non-coding DNA. As for the genes, most of them were grouped into large families, some of them being in expansion. Also, some genes were found to evolve faster than others at the level of the proteins they encode. They were found to be mainly involved in species differential adaptation to biotic and abiotic stresses, just like for expanding gene families. Therefore, this study sheds light on two important mechanisms of evolution of conifer genomes in response to the multiple environmental stresses that they face since their inception, millions of years ago. Link to the complete publication here.