Background and Aims
Peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is an allotetraploid (AABB-type genome) of recent origin, with a genome of about 2·8 Gb and a high repetitive content. This study reports an analysis of the repetitive component of the peanut A genome using bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones from A. duranensis, the most probable A genome donor, and the probable consequences of the activity of these elements since the divergence of the peanut A and B genomes.
The repetitive content of the A genome was analysed by using A. duranensis BAC clones as probes for fluorescence in situ hybridization (BAC-FISH), and by sequencing and characterization of 12 genomic regions. For the analysis of the evolutionary dynamics, two A genome regions are compared with their B genome homeologues.
BAC-FISH using 27 A. duranensis BAC clones as probes gave dispersed and repetitive DNA characteristic signals, predominantly in interstitial regions of the peanut A chromosomes. The sequences of 14 BAC clones showed complete and truncated copies of ten abundant long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons, characterized here. Almost all dateable transposition events occurred <3·5 million years ago, the estimated date of the divergence of A and B genomes. The most abundant retrotransposon is Feral, apparently parasitic on the retrotransposon FIDEL, followed by Pipa, also non-autonomous and probably parasitic on a retrotransposon we named Pipoka. The comparison of the A and B genome homeologous regions showed conserved segments of high sequence identity, punctuated by predominantly indel regions without significant similarity.
A substantial proportion of the highly repetitive component of the peanut A genome appears to be accounted for by relatively few LTR retrotransposons and their truncated copies or solo LTRs. The most abundant of the retrotransposons are non-autonomous. The activity of these retrotransposons has been a very significant driver of genome evolution since the evolutionary divergence of the A and B genomes.