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The Kalanchoë genome provides insights into convergent evolution and building blocks of crassulacean acid metabolism...

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Nature Communications
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Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is a specialized photosynthetic adaptation to arid environments, found predominantly in diverse eudicotyledonous (eudicot) and monocotyledonous (monocot) lineages that diverged approximately 135 million years ago. To test whether convergent evolution underpins the independent emergences of CAM, we present de novo genome assembly and gene expression data for Kalanchoë fedtschenkoi, an obligate CAM species that was shown by multigene phylogenetic analysis to represent one of the earliest-diverging lineages of core eudicots. Our combined analysis of K. fedtschenkoi and two monocot CAM species (Ananas comosus and Phalaenopsis equestris) identified signatures of convergence in protein sequence and in the diel re-scheduling of genes involved in metabolism and signaling. Our results provide significant insight into CAM evolution, facilitating CAM-into-C3 engineering for enhancing drought tolerance in crops.