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  1. Intricate evolutionary events enabled the emergence of the full set of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase (aaRS) families that define the genetic code. The diversification of aaRSs has continued in organisms from all domains of life, yielding aaRSs with unique characteristics as well as aaRS-like proteins with innovative functions outside translation. Recent bioinformatic analyses have revealed the extensive occurrence and phylogenetic diversity of aaRS gene duplication involving every synthetase family. However, only a fraction of these duplicated genes has been characterized, leaving many with biological functions yet to be discovered. Here we discuss how genomic duplication is associated with the occurrence of novel aaRSs and aaRS-like proteins that provide adaptive advantages to their hosts. We illustrate the variety of activities that have evolved from the primordial aaRS catalytic sites. This precedent underscores the need to investigate currently unexplored aaRS genomic duplications as they may hold a key to the discovery of exciting biological processes, new drug targets, important bioactive molecules, and tools for synthetic biology applications.
  2. Summary

    Artificial selection has produced varieties of domesticated maize that thrive in temperate climates around the world. However, the direct progenitor of maize, teosinte, is indigenous only to a relatively small range of tropical and subtropical latitudes and grows poorly or not at all outside of this region.Tripsacum, a sister genus to maize and teosinte, is naturally endemic to the majority of areas in the western hemisphere where maize is cultivated. A full‐length reference transcriptome forTripsacum dactyloidesgenerated using long‐read Iso‐Seq data was used to characterize independent adaptation to temperate climates in this clade. Genes related to phospholipid biosynthesis, a critical component of cold acclimation in other cold‐adapted plant lineages, were enriched among those genes experiencing more rapid rates of protein sequence evolution inT. dactyloides. In contrast with previous studies of parallel selection, we find that there is a significant overlap between the genes that were targets of artificial selection during the adaptation of maize to temperate climates and those that were targets of natural selection in temperate‐adaptedT. dactyloides. Genes related to growth, development, response to stimulus, signaling, and organelles were enriched in the set of genes identified as both targets of natural and artificial selection.