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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Biology and Microbiology

First Advisor

Madhav P. Nepal


Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) gene family includes members of three functionally linked subfamilies of genes that regulate various biochemical signaling pathways in eukaryotes. MAPKs in plants are widely known for their roles in biotic and abiotic stresses. Although, members of this gene family have recently been identified in model plants such as Arabidopsis, they are yet to be identified in Glycine max (Gm), Lotus japonicus (Lj), Medicago truncatula (Mt) and Phaseolus vulgaris (Pv). With the recent availability of genome sequence data for these species, it is possible to identify MAPK genes in their genomes. The main objectives of this study were to utilize in silico and phylogenetic approaches to identify MAPK genes in Gm, Lj, Mt and Pv and to investigate their evolutionary history and functional divergence. Using Arabidopsis orthologs as reference sequences, Hidden Markov Model (HMM) based searches were performed for the identification of MAPK gene family (MAPK, MAPKK and MAPKKK) in Gm, Lj, Mt and Pv. Various cutting edge approaches in comparative genomics were used in homology assessment. Several instances of nomenclatural inconsistencies were encountered in the published plant MAPKs, and solutions that might address those issues are discussed in this study. We followed Arabidopsis model for our MAPK nomenclature. In chapter 1 of this thesis, identification of soybean MAPK genes, their evolutionary history and functional divergence are presented. In chapter 2, the MAPK genes of three additional legume species Lotus japonicus, Medicago truncatula and Phaseolus vulgaris, their evolutionary relationships and functional divergence are presented.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Mitogen-activated protein kinases


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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