New Phytol (Dec 5 2017)
Few pan-genomic studies have been conducted in plants, and none of them have focused on the intraspecific diversity and evolution of their plastid genomes. We address this issue in Brachypodium distachyon and its close relatives B. stacei and B. hybridum, for which a large genomic data set has been compiled. We analyze inter- and intraspecific plastid comparative genomics and phylogenomic relationships within a family-wide framework. Major indel differences were detected between Brachypodium plastomes. Within B. distachyon, we detected two main lineages, a mostly Extremely Delayed Flowering (EDF+) clade and a mostly Spanish (S+) – Turkish (T+) clade, plus nine chloroplast capture and two plastid DNA (ptDNA) introgression and micro-recombination events. Early Oligocene (30.9 million yr ago (Ma)) and Late Miocene (10.1 Ma) divergence times were inferred for the respective stem and crown nodes of Brachypodium and a very recent Mid-Pleistocene (0.9 Ma) time for the B. distachyon split. Flowering time variation is a main factor driving rapid intraspecific divergence in B. distachyon, although it is counterbalanced by repeated introgression between previously isolated lineages. Swapping of plastomes between the three different genomic groups, EDF+, T+, S+, probably resulted from random backcrossing followed by stabilization through selection pressure.