Comparative genomics can provide new insights into the evolutionary mechanisms and gene function in CAM plants

Xiaohan Yang, Degao Liu, Timothy J. Tschaplinski, Gerald A. Tuskan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) photosynthesis is an important biological innovation enabling plant adaptation to hot and dry environments. CAM plants feature high water-use efficiency, with potential for sustainable crop production under water-limited conditions. A deep understanding of CAM-related gene function and molecular evolution of CAM plants is critical for exploiting the potential of engineering CAM into C3 crops to enhance crop production on semi-arid or marginal agricultural lands. With the newly emerging genomics resources for multiple CAM species, progress has been made in comparative genomics studies on the molecular basis and subsequently on the evolution of CAM. Here, recent advances in CAM comparative genomics research in constitutive and facultative CAM plants are reviewed, with a focus on the analyses of DNA/protein sequences and gene expression to provide new insights into the path and driving force of CAM evolution and to identify candidate genes involved in CAM-related biological processes. Potential applications of new computational and experimental technologies (e.g. CRISPR/Cas-mediated genome-editing technology) to the comparative and evolutionary genomics research on CAM plants are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6539-6547
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of experimental botany
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 29 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is supported by the Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Science, Genomic Science Program under Award Number DESC0008834.The writing of this manuscript was supported by the Center for Bioenergy Innovation (CBI), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Research Center supported by the Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research (OBER). This manuscript has been authored by UT-Battelle, LLC under Contract No. DE-AC05-00OR22725 with the U.S. Department of Energy. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract Number DE-AC05-00OR22725.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology.


  • Comparative genomics
  • crassulacean acid metabolism
  • drought stress
  • evolution
  • gene function
  • genome editing
  • photosynthesis


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