TITLE

Photosynthesis research on yellowtops: Macroevolution in progress

AUTHOR(S)
Kutschera, U.; Niklas, K.J.
PUB. DATE
April 2007
SOURCE
Theory in Biosciences;Apr2007, Vol. 125 Issue 2, p81
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Abstract: The vast majority of angiosperms, including most of the agronomically important crop plants (wheat, etc.), assimilate CO2 through the inefficient C3 pathway of photosynthesis. Under ambient conditions these organisms loose about 1/3 of fixed carbon via photorespiration, an energetically wasteful process. Plants with C4 photosynthesis (such as maize) eliminate photorespiration via a biochemical CO2-pump and thus have a larger rate of carbon gain. The genus Flaveria (yellowtops, Asteraceae) contains not only C3 and C4 species, but also many C3–C4 intermediates, which have been interpreted as evolving from C3 to fully expressed C4 metabolism. However, the evolutionary significance of C3–C4 Flaveria-intermediates has long been a matter of debate. A well-resolved phylogeny of nearly all Flaveria species has recently been published. Here, we review pertinent background information and combine this novel phylogeny with physiological data. We conclude that the Flaveria species complex provides a robust model system for the study of the transition from C3 to C4 photosynthesis, which is arguably a macroevolutionary event. We conclude with comments relevant to the current Intelligent Design debate.
ACCESSION #
24615121

 

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