Rapid evolution of the plastid translational apparatus in a nonphotosynthetic plant: Loss or accelerated sequence evolution of tRNA and ribosomal protein genes

The vestigial plastid genome of Epifagus virginiana (beechdrops), a nonphotosynthetic parasitic flowering plant, is functional but lacks six ribosomal protein and 13 tRNA genes found in the chloroplast DNAs of photosynthetic flowering plants. Import of nuclear gene products is hypothesized to compensate for many of these losses. Codon usage and amino acid… (More)