Phylogenetic tree of NCED proteins. The five novel maize NCED protein sequences were aligned with known NCED protein sequences [39, 44, 45]. In addition, four other NCED protein sequences were included in the alignment: OsNCED4 [GenBank:AAW21318.1] and OsNCED5 [GenBank:AAW21317.1] from rice and PsNCED2 [GenBank:BAC10550] and PsNCED3 [GenBank:BAC10551] from Pisum sativum. An unrooted tree ofthe NCED protein sequences was obtained using the maximum Likelihood method. Branch lengths are scaled proportional to substitution rate. Bootstrap values (percent) of 500 bootstrap replicates exceeding 70% are indicated above the supported branches. The Arabidopsis and maize NCEDs are highlighted by grey and dark boxes, respectively. Maize accession numbers are indicated in Table 4. Other NCEDs include: AtNCED2 [GenBank:NP_193569], AtNCED3 [GenBank:NP_188062], AtNCED5 [GenBank:NP_174302], AtNCED6 [GenBank:NP_189064] and AtNCED9 [GenBank:NP_177960] from Arabidopsis; LeNCED [GenBank:CAB10168] from Lycopersicon esculentum; OsNCED1 [GenBank:AAW21319.1], OsNCED2 [GenBank:AAW21321.1] and OsNCED3 [GenBank:AAW21320.1] from rice; PaNCED1 [GenBank:AF224672] and PaNCED3 [GenBank:AF224671] from Phaseolus vulgaris; StNCED [GenBank:CAB76920] from Solanum tuberosum.