Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
The small, relatively constant size and conservative evolution of chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) make it an ideal molecule for tracing the evolutionary history of plant species. At lower taxonomic levels, cpDNA variation is easily and conveniently assayed by comparing restriction patterns and maps, while at higher taxonomic levels, DNA sequencing and inversion analysis are the methods of choice for comparing chloroplast genomes. The study of cpDNA variation has already yielded important new insights into the origin and evolution of many agriculturally important crop plants, and promises to significantly enhance our phylogenetic understanding of the major lines of descent among land plants and algae.
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