RNA editing in the chloroplast of Asian Palmyra palm (Borassus flabellifer)

Abstract We have identified 46 RNA editing sites located in 20 chloroplast (cp) genes of Borassus flabellifer (Asian Palmyra palm), family Arecaceae, and tested these genes for supporting phylogenetic study among the commelinids. Among the 46 sites, 43 sites were found to cause amino acid alterations, which were predicted to increase the hydrophobicity and transmembrane regions of the proteins, and one site was to cause a premature stop codon. Analysis of these editing sites with data obtained from seed plants showed that a number of shared-editing sites depend on the evolutionary relationship between plants. We reconstructed a deep phylogenetic relationship among the commelinids using seven RNA edited genes that are orthologous among monocots. This tree could represent the relationship among subfamilies of Arecaceae family, but was insufficient to represent the relationship among the orders of the commelinid. After adding eight gene sequences with high parsimony-informative characters (PICs), the tree topology was improved and could support the topology for the commelinid orders ((Arecales,Dasypogenaceae) (Zingiberales+Commelinales,Poales)). The result provides support for inherent RNA editing along the evolution of seed plants, and we provide an alternative set of loci for the phylogenetic tree reconstruction of Arecaceae’s subfamilies.