Convergent evolution of plant prickles is driven by repeated gene co-option over deep time

Satterlee, James W, Alonso, David, Gramazio, Pietro, Jenike, Katharine M, He, Jia, Arrones, Andrea, Villanueva, Gloria, Plazas, Mariola, Ramakrishnan, Srividya, Benoit, Matthias, Gentile, Iacopo, Hendelman, Anat, Shohat, Hagai, Fitzgerald, Blaine, Robitaille, Gina M, Green, Yumi, Swartwood, Kerry, Passalacqua, Michael J, Gagnon, Edeline, Hilgenhof, Rebecca, Huggins, Trevis D, Eizenga, Georgia C, Gur, Amit, Rutten, Twan, Stein, Nils, Yao, Shengrui, Bellot, Clement, Bendahmane, Mohammed, Frary, Amy, Knapp, Sandra, Särkinen, Tiina, Gillis, Jesse, Van Eck, Joyce, Schatz, Michael C, Eshed, Yuval, Prohens, Jaime, Vilanova, Santiago, Lippman, Zachary B (February 2024) Convergent evolution of plant prickles is driven by repeated gene co-option over deep time. bioRxiv. (Submitted)

DOI: 10.1101/2024.02.21.581474


An enduring question in evolutionary biology concerns the degree to which episodes of convergent trait evolution depend on the same genetic programs, particularly over long timescales. Here we genetically dissected repeated origins and losses of prickles, sharp epidermal projections, that convergently evolved in numerous plant lineages. Mutations in a cytokinin hormone biosynthetic gene caused at least 16 independent losses of prickles in eggplants and wild relatives in the genus Solanum. Strikingly, homologs promote prickle formation across angiosperms that collectively diverged over 150 million years ago. By developing new Solanum genetic systems, we leveraged this discovery to eliminate prickles in a wild species and an indigenously foraged berry. Our findings implicate a shared hormone-activation genetic program underlying evolutionarily widespread and recurrent instances of plant morphological innovation.

Item Type: Paper
Subjects: organism description > plant
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Gillis Lab
CSHL labs > Lippman lab
School of Biological Sciences > Publications
SWORD Depositor: CSHL Elements
Depositing User: CSHL Elements
Date: 22 February 2024
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2024 14:42
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2024 14:42
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