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Genome-Wide Comparative Analysis of Flowering-Related Genes in Arabidopsis, Wheat, and Barley
Early flowering is an important trait influencing grain yield and quality inwheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) in short-season cropping regions. However, due to large and complex genomes of these species, direct identification of flowering genes and their molecular characterization remain challenging. Here, we used a bioinformatic approach to predict flowering related genes in wheat and barley from 190 known Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh.) flowering genes. We identified 900 and 275 putative orthologs in wheat and barley, respectively. The annotated flowering-related genes were clustered into 144 orthologous groups with one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-one, and many-to-many orthology relationships. Our approach was further validated by domain and phylogenetic analyses of flowering-related proteins and comparative analysis of publicly available micro array data sets for in silico expression profiling of flowering-related genes in 13 different developmental stages of wheat and barley. These further analyses showed that orthologous gene pairs in three critical flowering gene families (PEBP,MADS, and BBX) exhibited similar expression patterns among 13 developmental stages in wheat and barley, suggesting similar functions among the orthologous genes with sequence and expression similarities.The predicted candidate flowering genes can be confirmed and incorporated into molecular breeding for early flowering wheat and barley in short-season cropping regions.
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