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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The complete chloroplast genome sequence of Gossypium hirsutum: organization and phylogenetic relationships to other angiosperms

Seung-Bum Lee1, Charalambos Kaittanis1, Robert K Jansen2, Jessica B Hostetler3, Luke J Tallon3, Christopher D Town3 and Henry Daniell1*

Author Affiliations

1 Dept. of Molecular Biology & Microbiology, University of Central Florida, Biomolecular Science, Building #20, Orlando, FL 32816–2364, USA

2 Section of Integrative Biology and Institute of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Patterson Laboratories 141, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712, USA

3 The Institute for Genomic Research, 9712 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD 20850, USA

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BMC Genomics 2006, 7:61  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-7-61

Published: 23 March 2006

Abstract

Background

Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) is the most important fiber crop grown in 90 countries. In 2004–2005, US farmers planted 79% of the 5.7-million hectares of nuclear transgenic cotton. Unfortunately, genetically modified cotton has the potential to hybridize with other cultivated and wild relatives, resulting in geographical restrictions to cultivation. However, chloroplast genetic engineering offers the possibility of containment because of maternal inheritance of transgenes. The complete chloroplast genome of cotton provides essential information required for genetic engineering. In addition, the sequence data were used to assess phylogenetic relationships among the major clades of rosids using cotton and 25 other completely sequenced angiosperm chloroplast genomes.

Results

The complete cotton chloroplast genome is 160,301 bp in length, with 112 unique genes and 19 duplicated genes within the IR, containing a total of 131 genes. There are four ribosomal RNAs, 30 distinct tRNA genes and 17 intron-containing genes. The gene order in cotton is identical to that of tobacco but lacks rpl22 and infA. There are 30 direct and 24 inverted repeats 30 bp or longer with a sequence identity ≥ 90%. Most of the direct repeats are within intergenic spacer regions, introns and a 72 bp-long direct repeat is within the psaA and psaB genes. Comparison of protein coding sequences with expressed sequence tags (ESTs) revealed nucleotide substitutions resulting in amino acid changes in ndhC, rpl23, rpl20, rps3 and clpP. Phylogenetic analysis of a data set including 61 protein-coding genes using both maximum likelihood and maximum parsimony were performed for 28 taxa, including cotton and five other angiosperm chloroplast genomes that were not included in any previous phylogenies.

Conclusion

Cotton chloroplast genome lacks rpl22 and infA and contains a number of dispersed direct and inverted repeats. RNA editing resulted in amino acid changes with significant impact on their hydropathy. Phylogenetic analysis provides strong support for the position of cotton in the Malvales in the eurosids II clade sister to Arabidopsis in the Brassicales. Furthermore, there is strong support for the placement of the Myrtales sister to the eurosid I clade, although expanded taxon sampling is needed to further test this relationship.