Recently, the complete chloroplast genome sequences of many important crop plants were determined, and this can be considered a major step forward toward exploiting the usefulness of chloroplast genetic engineering technology. Economically, cotton is one of the most important crop plants for many countries. To further our understanding of this important crop, we determined the complete nucleotide sequence of the chloroplast genome from cotton (Gossypium barbadense L.). The chloroplast genome of cotton is 160,317 base pairs (bp) in length, and is composed of a large single copy (LSC) of 88,841 bp, a small single copy (SSC) of 20,294 bp, and two identical inverted repeat (IR) regions of 25,591 bp each. The genome contains 114 unique genes, of which 17 genes are duplicated in the IRs. In addition, many open reading frames (ORFs) and hypothetical chloroplast reading frames (ycfs) with unknown functions were deduced. Compared to the chloroplast genomes from 8 other dicot plants, the cotton chloroplast genome showed a high degree of similarity of the overall structure, gene organization, and gene content. Furthermore, the sequences of the genes showed high degrees of identity at the DNA and amino acid levels. The cotton chloroplast genome was somewhat longer than the chloroplast genomes of most of the other dicot plants compared here. However, this elongation of the cotton chloroplast genome was found to be due mainly to expansions of the intergenic regions and introns (non-coding DNA). Moreover, these expansions occurred predominantly in the LSC and SSC regions.
2006 by The Genetics Society of Japan