Out of the Water: Origin and Diversification of the LBD Gene Family. 2015. Chanderbali, A. S., F. He, P. S. Soltis, D. E. Soltis. Molecular Biology and Evolution. Accepted manuscript available.
LBD (LOB Domain) genes are essential to the developmental programs of many fundamental plant organs and function in some of the basic metabolic pathways of plants. However, our historical perspective on the roles of LBD genes during plant evolution has, heretofore, been fragmentary. Here we show that the LBD gene family underwent an initial radiation that established five gene lineages in the ancestral genome of most charophyte algae and land plants. By inference, the LBD gene family originated after the emergence of the green plants (Viridiplantae), but prior to the diversification of most extant streptophytes. After this initial radiation, we find limited instances of gene family diversification in land plants until successive rounds of expansion in the ancestors of seed plants and flowering plants, respectively. The most dynamic phases of LBD gene evolution, therefore, trace to the aquatic ancestors of embryophytes followed by relatively recent lineage-specific expansions on land.