Li,DZ (reprint author),Chinese Acad Sci,Kunming Inst Bot,Key Lab Plant Div & Biogeog East Asia,Kunming 650201,Yunnan,Peoples R China.
In flowering plants, three genomes (nuclear, mitochondrial, and plastid) coexist and intracellular horizontal transfer of DNA is prevalent, especially from the plastid to the mitochondrion genome. However, the plastid genomes are generally conserved in evolution and have long been considered immune to foreign DNA. Recently, the opposite direction of DNA transfer from the mitochondrial to the plastid genome has been reported in two eudicot lineages. Here we sequenced 6 plastid genomes of bamboos, three of which are neotropical woody species and three are herbaceous ones. Several unusual features were found, including the duplication of trnT-GGU and loss of one copy of rps19 due to contraction of inverted repeats (IRs). The most intriguing was the similar to 2.7 kb insertion in the plastid IR regions in the three herbaceous bamboos. Furthermore, the insertion was documented to be horizontally transferred from the mitochondrial to the plastid genome. Our study provided evidence of the mitochondrial-to-plastid DNA transfer in the monocots, demonstrating again that this rare event does occur in other angiosperm lineages. However, the mechanism underlying the transfer remains obscure, and more studies in other plants may elucidate it in the future.