One of the increasingly widespread mechanisms of resistance to the herbicide glyphosate is copy number variation (CNV) of the 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS) gene. EPSPS gene duplication has been reported in eight weed species, ranging from 3-5 extra copies to more than 150 extra copies. In the case of Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri), a section of >300 kb containing EPSPS and many other genes has been replicated and inserted at new loci throughout the genome, resulting in significant increase in total genome size. The replicated sequence contains several classes of mobile genetic elements including helitrons, raising the intriguing possibility of extra-chromosomal replication of the EPSPS-containing sequence. In kochia (Kochia scoparia), from three to more than 10 extra EPSPS copies are arranged as a tandem gene duplication at one locus. In the remaining six weed species that exhibit EPSPS gene duplication, little is known about the underlying mechanisms of gene duplication or their entire sequence. There is mounting evidence that adaptive gene amplification is an important mode of evolution in the face of intense human-mediated selection pressure. The convergent evolution of CNVs for glyphosate resistance in weeds, through at least two different mechanisms, may be indicative of a more general importance for this mechanism of adaptation in plants. CNVs warrant further investigation across plant functional genomics for adaptation to biotic and abiotic stresses, particularly for adaptive evolution on rapid time scales.© The American Genetic Association 2017. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: [email protected].
Journal: The Journal of heredity