Agronomy and Horticulture Department



James C. Schnable

Date of this Version



Scientific Reports 7: 13528, DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-13236-z.


Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


The past few years have witnessed a paradigm shift in molecular systematics from phylogenetic methods (using one or a few genes) to those that can be described as phylogenomics (phylogenetic inference with entire genomes). One approach that has recently emerged is phylo-transcriptomics (transcriptome-based phylogenetic inference). As in any phylogenetics experiment, accurate orthology inference is critical to phylo-transcriptomics. To date, most analyses have inferred orthology based either on pure sequence similarity or using gene-tree approaches. The use of conserved genome synteny in orthology detection has been relatively under-employed in phylogenetics, mainly due to the cost of sequencing genomes. While current trends focus on the quantity of genes included in an analysis, the use of synteny is likely to improve the quality of ortholog inference. In this study, we combine de novo transcriptome data and sequenced genomes from an economically important group of grass species, the tribe Paniceae, to make phylogenomic inferences. This method, which we call “genome-guided phylo-transcriptomics”, is compared to other recently published orthology inference pipelines, and benchmarked using a set of sequenced genomes from across the grasses. These comparisons provide a framework for future researchers to evaluate the costs and benefits of adding sequenced genomes to transcriptome data sets.