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1.  Diverse retrotransposon families and an AT-rich satellite DNA revealed in giant genomes of Fritillaria lilies 
Annals of Botany  2010;107(2):255-268.
Background and Aims
The genus Fritillaria (Liliaceae) comprises species with extremely large genomes (1C = 30 000–127 000 Mb) and a bicontinental distribution. Most North American species (subgenus Liliorhiza) differ from Eurasian Fritillaria species by their distinct phylogenetic position and increased amounts of heterochromatin. This study examined the contribution of major repetitive elements to the genome obesity found in Fritillaria and identified repeats contributing to the heterochromatin arrays in Liliorhiza species.
Methods
Two Fritillaria species of similar genome size were selected for detailed analysis, one from each phylogeographical clade: F. affinis (1C = 45·6 pg, North America) and F. imperialis (1C = 43·0 pg, Eurasia). Fosmid libraries were constructed from their genomic DNAs and used for identification, sequence characterization, quantification and chromosome localization of clones containing highly repeated sequences.
Key Results and Conclusions
Repeats corresponding to 6·7 and 4·7 % of the F. affinis and F. imperialis genome, respectively, were identified. Chromoviruses and the Tat lineage of Ty3/gypsy group long terminal repeat retrotransposons were identified as the predominant components of the highly repeated fractions in the F. affinis and F. imperialis genomes, respectively. In addition, a heterogeneous, extremely AT-rich satellite repeat was isolated from F. affinis. The FriSAT1 repeat localized in heterochromatic bands makes up approx. 26 % of the F. affinis genome and substantial genomic fractions in several other Liliorhiza species. However, no evidence of a relationship between heterochromatin content and genome size variation was observed. Also, this study was unable to reveal any predominant repeats which tracked the increasing/decreasing trends of genome size evolution in Fritillaria. Instead, the giant Fritillaria genomes seem to be composed of many diversified families of transposable elements. We hypothesize that the genome obesity may be partly determined by the failure of removal mechanisms to counterbalance effectively the retrotransposon amplification.
doi:10.1093/aob/mcq235
PMCID: PMC3025733  PMID: 21156758
Fritillaria; Liliaceae; repetitive DNA; transposable elements; retrotransposon; heterochromatin; satellite repeats; chromosomes; genome size variation
2.  Flow cytometry and GISH reveal mixed ploidy populations and Spartina nonaploids with genomes of S. alterniflora and S. maritima origin 
Annals of Botany  2010;105(4):527-533.
Background
The genus Spartina exhibits extensive hybridization and includes classic examples of recent speciation by allopolyploidy. In the UK there are two hexaploid species, S. maritima and S. alterniflora, as well as the homoploid hybrid S. × townsendii (2n = 60) and a derived allododecaploid S. anglica (2n = 120, 122, 124); the latter two are considered to have originated in Hythe, southern England at the end of the 19th century.
Methods
Genomic in situ hybridization (GISH) and flow cytometry were used to characterize the genomic composition and distribution of these species and their ploidy levels at Eling Marchwood and Hythe, both near Southampton, southern England.
Key Results
GISH identified approx. 60 chromosomes each of S. maritima and S. alterniflora origin in S. anglica and 62 chromosomes from S. alterniflora and 30 chromosomes from S. maritima in a nonaploid individual from Eling Marchwood, UK. GISH and flow cytometry also revealed that most (94 %) individuals examined at Hythe were hexaploid (the remaining two individuals (6 %) were dodedcaploid; n = 34), whereas hexaploid (approx. 36 % of plants), nonaploid (approx. 27 %) and dodecaploid (approx. 36 %) individuals were found at Eling Marchwood (n = 22).
Conclusions
Nonaploid individuals indicate the potential for introgression between hexaploid and dodecaploid species, complicating the picture of polyploid-induced speciation within the genus. Despite the aggressive ecological habit of S. anglica, it has not out-competed S. × townsendii at Hythe (homoploid hybrids at a frequency of 94 %, n = 34), despite >100 years of coexistence. The success of GISH opens up the potential for future studies of polyploid-induced genome restructuring in this genus.
doi:10.1093/aob/mcq008
PMCID: PMC2850792  PMID: 20150197
Polyploidy; speciation; Spartina; nonaploid; nonaploid bridge; interspecific hybridization; GISH
3.  Genome Size Evolution in Relation to Leaf Strategy and Metabolic Rates Revisited 
Annals of Botany  2007;99(3):495-505.
Background and Aims
It has been proposed that having too much DNA may carry physiological consequences for plants. The strong correlation between DNA content, cell size and cell division rate could lead to predictable morphological variation in plants, including a negative relationship with leaf mass per unit area (LMA). In addition, the possible increased demand for resources in species with high DNA content may have downstream effects on maximal metabolic efficiency, including decreased metabolic rates.
Methods
Tests were made for genome size-dependent variation in LMA and metabolic rates (mass-based photosynthetic rate and dark respiration rate) using our own measurements and data from a plant functional trait database (Glopnet). These associations were tested using two metrics of genome size: bulk DNA amount (2C DNA) and monoploid genome size (1Cx DNA). The data were analysed using an evolutionary framework that included a regression analysis and independent contrasts using a phylogenetic tree with estimates of molecular diversification times. A contribution index for the LMA data set was also calculated to determine which divergences have the greatest influence on the relationship between genome size and LMA.
Key Results and Conclusions
A significant negative association was found between bulk DNA amount and LMA in angiosperms. This was primarily a result of influential divergences that may represent early shifts in growth form. However, divergences in bulk DNA amount were positively associated with divergences in LMA, suggesting that the relationship may be indirect and mediated through other traits directly related to genome size. There was a significant negative association between genome size and metabolic rates that was driven by a basal divergence between angiosperms and gymnosperms; no significant independent contrast results were found. Therefore, it is concluded that genome size-dependent constraints acting on metabolic efficiency may not exist within seed plants.
doi:10.1093/aob/mcl271
PMCID: PMC2802952  PMID: 17204534
Leaf mass per unit area; LMA; photosynthesis; Amass; dark respiration; Rmass; genome size; phylogeny; independent contrasts; contribution index

Results 1-3 (3)