Origin of Lignin Biosynthesis

A new paper, "Ancient origin of the biosynthesis of lignin precursors," was published today in Biology Direct, with Ph.D. student Leen Labeeuw and Dr. Rebecca Case (Department of Biological Sciences) as lead and senior authors, respectively. The authors propose that the genes associated with the biosynthesis of p-coumaryl alcohol, the simplest lignin monomer, found in algal genomes likely evolved long before the transition of photosynthetic eukaryotes to land.

As co-authors, Yan contributed his expertise in phylogenetic analysis and was involved in the design of the experiment, and Dr. Patrick Martone (University of British Columbia) provided novel gene sequences for the study.

Major evolutionary events hypothesized in the evolution of the lignin biosynthetic pathway across the eukaryotic tree (from Labeeuw et al., 2015)