By the same authors

From the same journal

Phylogenomic Mining of the Mints Reveals Multiple Mechanisms Contributing to the Evolution of Chemical Diversity in Lamiaceae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Full text download(s)

Published copy (DOI)


  • Mint Evolutionary Genomics Consortium
  • Benoît Boachon
  • C. Robin Buell
  • Emily Crisovan
  • Natalia Dudareva
  • Nicolas Garcia
  • Grant Godden
  • Laura Henry
  • Mohamed O. Kamileen
  • Heather Rose Kates
  • Matthew B. Kilgore
  • Benjamin R. Lichman
  • Evgeny V. Mavrodiev
  • Linsey Newton
  • Carlos Rodriguez-Lopez
  • Sarah E. O'Connor
  • Douglas Soltis
  • Pamela Soltis
  • Brieanne Vaillancourt
  • Krystle Wiegert-Rininger
  • Dongyan Zhao


Publication details

JournalMolecular plant
DateAccepted/In press - 10 Jun 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jun 2018
DatePublished (current) - 6 Aug 2018
Issue number8
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)1084-1096
Early online date18/06/18
Original languageEnglish


The evolution of chemical complexity has been a major driver of plant diversification, with novel compounds serving as key innovations. The species-rich mint family (Lamiaceae) produces an enormous variety of compounds that act as attractants and defense molecules in nature and are used widely by humans as flavor additives, fragrances, and anti-herbivory agents. To elucidate the mechanisms by which such diversity evolved, we combined leaf transcriptome data from 48 Lamiaceae species and four outgroups with a robust phylogeny and chemical analyses of three terpenoid classes (monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and iridoids) that share and compete for precursors. Our integrated chemical–genomic–phylogenetic approach revealed that: (1) gene family expansion rather than increased enzyme promiscuity of terpene synthases is correlated with mono- and sesquiterpene diversity; (2) differential expression of core genes within the iridoid biosynthetic pathway is associated with iridoid presence/absence; (3) generally, production of iridoids and canonical monoterpenes appears to be inversely correlated; and (4) iridoid biosynthesis is significantly associated with expression of geraniol synthase, which diverts metabolic flux away from canonical monoterpenes, suggesting that competition for common precursors can be a central control point in specialized metabolism. These results suggest that multiple mechanisms contributed to the evolution of chemodiversity in this economically important family. The mint family (Lamiaceae) includes many culturally and economically important species and collectively exhibits an exceptionally high degree of chemical diversity. Using an integrated chemical-genomic-phylogenetic approach, gene family expansion, altered gene expression of key biosynthetic pathway genes, and flux of precursors were shown to underlie the evolution of chemodiversity observed in this chemically rich clade.

Bibliographical note

© The Author 2018

    Research areas

  • chemodiversity, evolution, iridoid, terpene

Discover related content

Find related publications, people, projects, datasets and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations