Wenqiang Qin 1 , 2 , Ya Yu 2 , Yuying Jin 2 , Xindong Wang 3 , Ji Liu 2 , Jianping Xi 2 , Zhi Li 2 , Huiqin Li 2 , Ge Zhao 2 , Wei Hu 2 , Chuanjia Chen 1 , * , Fuguang Li 1 , 2 , * , Zhaoen Yang 1 , 2 , *
07 September 2018
The CONSTANS (CO)-like gene family has been well studied for its role in the regulation of plant flowering time. However, their role remains poorly understood in cotton. To better understand the possible roles of CO-like in cotton, we performed a comprehensive genome-wide analysis of CO-like genes in cotton. Phylogenetic tree analysis showed that CO-like genes naturally clustered into three groups. Segmental duplication and whole genome duplication (WGD), which occurred before polyploidy, were important contributors to its expansion within the At (“t” indicates tetraploid) and Dt subgenomes, particularly in Group III. Long-terminal repeat retroelements were identified as the main transposable elements accompanying 18 genes. The genotype of GhCOL12_Dt displayed low diversity; it was a candidate involved in domestication. Selection pressure analyses indicated that relaxed purifying selection might have provided the main impetus during the evolution of CO-like genes in upland cotton. In addition, the high expression in the torus and calycle indicated that CO-like genes might affect flowering. The genes from Group II, and those from Group III involved in segmental duplication or WGD, might play important roles in response to drought and salt stress. Overall, this comprehensive genome-wide study of the CO-like gene family would facilitate further detailed studies in cotton.