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Keywords:

  • 454 pyrosequencing;
  • convergent evolution;
  • ecogenomics;
  • extremophiles;
  • functional genomics;
  • mangrove;
  • transcriptome profiling

Summary

  • • 
    The tropical intertidal ecosystem is defined by trees – mangroves – which are adapted to an extreme and extremely variable environment. The genetic basis underlying these adaptations is, however, virtually unknown. Based on advances in pyrosequencing, we present here the first transcriptome analysis for plants for which no prior genomic information was available. We selected the mangroves Rhizophora mangle (Rhizophoraceae) and Heritiera littoralis (Malvaceae) as ecologically important extremophiles employing markedly different physiological and life-history strategies for survival and dominance in this extreme environment.
  • • 
    For maximal representation of conditional transcripts, mRNA was obtained from a variety of developmental stages, tissues types, and habitats. For each species, a normalized cDNA library of pooled mRNAs was analysed using GSFLX pyrosequencing.
  • • 
    A total of 537 635 sequences were assembled de novo and annotated as > 13 000 distinct gene models for each species. Gene ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) orthology annotations highlighted remarkable similarities in the mangrove transcriptome profiles, which differed substantially from the model plants Arabidopsis and Populus.
  • • 
    Similarities in the two species suggest a unique mangrove lifestyle overarching the effects of transcriptome size, habitat, tissue type, developmental stage, and biogeographic and phylogenetic differences between them.