Meiosis is a specialized type of cell division necessary for sexual reproduction in eukaryotes. A better understanding of the cytological procedures of meiosis has been achieved by comprehensive cytogenetic studies in plants, while the genetic mechanisms regulating meiotic progression remain incompletely understood. The increasing accumulation of complete genome sequences and large-scale gene expression datasets has provided a powerful resource for phylogenomic inference and unsupervised identification of genes involved in plant meiosis. By integrating sequence homology and expression data, 164, 131, 124 and 162 genes potentially important for meiosis were identified in the genomes of Arabidopsis thaliana, Oryza sativa, Selaginella moellendorffii and Pogonatum aloides, respectively. The predicted genes were assigned to 45 meiotic GO terms, and their functions were related to different processes occurring during meiosis in various organisms. Most of the predicted meiotic genes underwent lineage-specific duplication events during plant evolution, with about 30% of the predicted genes retaining only a single copy in higher plant genomes. The results of this study provided clues to design experiments for better functional characterization of meiotic genes in plants, promoting the phylogenomic approach to the evolutionary dynamics of the plant meiotic machineries.
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