Functional Diversification and the Plant Secondary Cell Wall

Joseph B. Colbert, Heather D. Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Much evidence exists suggesting the presence of genetic functional diversification in plants, though literature associated with the role of functional diversification in the evolution of the plant secondary cell wall (SCW) has sparsely been compiled and reviewed in a recent context. This review aims to elucidate, through the examination of gene phylogenies associated with its biosynthesis and maintenance, the role of functional diversification in shaping the critical, dynamic, and characteristic organelle, the secondary cell wall. It will be asserted that gene families resulting from gene duplication and subsequent functional divergence are present and are heavily involved in SCW biosynthesis and maintenance. Furthermore, diversification will be presented as a significant driver behind the evolution of the many functional characteristics of the SCW. The structure and function of the plant cell wall and its constituents will first be explored, followed by a discussion on the phenomenon of gene duplication and the resulting genetic functional divergence that can emerge. Finally, the major constituents of the SCW and their individual relationships with duplication and divergence will be reviewed to the extent of current knowledge on the subject.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)761-772
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Molecular Evolution
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Biosynthesis
  • Genetics
  • Neofunctionalization
  • Plant genetics
  • Polyploidy
  • Secondary cell wall
  • Subfunctionalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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