Evolution of organellar genes of chlorophyte algae: Relevance to phylogenetic inference
Protein-coding genes in organellar genomes have been widely used to resolve relationships of chlorophyte algae. The mode of evolution of these protein-coding genes affects relationship estimations, yet selection effects on genes commonly used as markers in phylogenetic analyses are insufficiently well understood. To gain more understanding about the effects of green algal organelle protein-coding genes on phylogenies, more information is needed about the mode of gene evolution. We used phylogenetic frameworks to examine evolutionary relationships of 58 protein-coding genes present in the organellar genomes of chlorophyte and streptophyte algae at multiple levels: organelle, biological function, and individual gene, and calculated pairwise dN/dS ratios of algal organellar protein-coding genes to investigate mode of evolution. Results indicate that mitochondrial genes have evolved at a higher rate than have chloroplast genes. Low dN/dS ratios indicating relatively high level of conservation indicate that nad2, nad5, atpA, atpE, psbC, and psbD might be particularly good candidates for use as markers in chlorophyte phylogenies. Chlorophycean atp6, nad2, atpF, clpP, rps2, rps3, rps4, and rps7 protein-coding sequences exhibited selective mutations, suggesting that changes in proteins encoded by these genes might have increased fitness in Chlorophyceae.