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Article|08 Mar 2022|OPEN
Evolution and functional diversification of R2R3-MYB transcription factors in plants
Yun Wu1,3 ,† , Jing Wen2 ,† , Yiping Xia3 and Liangsheng Zhang3 , , Hai Du,2 ,
1Department of Landscape Architecture, School of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, Hangzhou, 310018, China
2College of Agronomy and Biotechnology, Southwest University, Chongqing, 400716, China
3Genomics and Genetic Engineering Laboratory of Ornamental Plants, College of Agriculture and Biotechnology, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310058, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:,
Both authors contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 9,
Article number: uhac058 (2022)
Views: 21

Received: 11 Oct 2021
Accepted: 24 Feb 2022
Published online: 08 Mar 2022


R2R3-MYB genes (R2R3-MYBs) form one of the largest transcription factor gene families in the plant kingdom, with substantial structural and functional diversity. However, the evolutionary processes leading to this amazing functional diversity have not yet been clearly established. Recently developed genomic and classical molecular technologies have provided detailed insights into the evolutionary relationships and functions of plant R2R3-MYBs. Here, we review recent genome-level and functional analyses of plant R2R3-MYBs, with an emphasis on their evolution and functional diversification. In land plants, this gene family underwent a large expansion by whole genome duplications and small-scale duplications. Along with this population explosion, a series of functionally conserved or lineage-specific subfamilies/groups arose with roles in three major plant-specific biological processes: development and cell differentiation, specialized metabolism, and biotic and abiotic stresses. The rapid expansion and functional diversification of plant R2R3-MYBs are highly consistent with the increasing complexity of angiosperms. In particular, recently derived R2R3-MYBs with three highly homologous intron patterns (a, b, and c) are disproportionately related to specialized metabolism and have become the predominant subfamilies in land plant genomes. The evolution of plant R2R3-MYBs is an active area of research, and further studies are expected to improve our understanding of the evolution and functional diversification of this gene family.