Jonathan F. Wendel, Scott A. Jackson, Blake C. Meyers and Rod A. Wing
DOI: 10.1186/s13059-016-0908-1Â© Wendel et al. 2016
Published: 1 March 2016
We have witnessed an explosion in our understanding of the evolution and structure of plant genomes in recent years. Here, we highlight three important emergent realizations: (1) that the evolutionary history of all plant genomes contains multiple, cyclical episodes of whole-genome doubling that were followed by myriad fractionation processes; (2) that the vast majority of the variation in genome size reflects the dynamics of proliferation and loss of lineage-specific transposable elements; and (3) that various classes of small RNAs help shape genomic architecture and function. We illustrate ways in which understanding these organism-level and molecular genetic processes can be used for crop plant improvement.