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1.  Intraspecific sequence comparisons reveal similar rates of non-collinear gene insertion in the B and D genomes of bread wheat 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:155.
Polyploidization is considered one of the main mechanisms of plant genome evolution. The presence of multiple copies of the same gene reduces selection pressure and permits sub-functionalization and neo-functionalization leading to plant diversification, adaptation and speciation. In bread wheat, polyploidization and the prevalence of transposable elements resulted in massive gene duplication and movement. As a result, the number of genes which are non-collinear to genomes of related species seems markedly increased in wheat.
We used new-generation sequencing (NGS) to generate sequence of a Mb-sized region from wheat chromosome arm 3DS. Sequence assembly of 24 BAC clones resulted in two scaffolds of 1,264,820 and 333,768 bases. The sequence was annotated and compared to the homoeologous region on wheat chromosome 3B and orthologous loci of Brachypodium distachyon and rice. Among 39 coding sequences in the 3DS scaffolds, 32 have a homoeolog on chromosome 3B. In contrast, only fifteen and fourteen orthologs were identified in the corresponding regions in rice and Brachypodium, respectively. Interestingly, five pseudogenes were identified among the non-collinear coding sequences at the 3B locus, while none was found at the 3DS locus.
Direct comparison of two Mb-sized regions of the B and D genomes of bread wheat revealed similar rates of non-collinear gene insertion in both genomes with a majority of gene duplications occurring before their divergence. Relatively low proportion of pseudogenes was identified among non-collinear coding sequences. Our data suggest that the pseudogenes did not originate from insertion of non-functional copies, but were formed later during the evolution of hexaploid wheat. Some evidence was found for gene erosion along the B genome locus.
PMCID: PMC3445842  PMID: 22935214
Wheat; BAC sequencing; Homoeologous genomes; Gene duplication; Non-collinear genes; Allopolyploidy
2.  Chromosome arm-specific BAC end sequences permit comparative analysis of homoeologous chromosomes and genomes of polyploid wheat 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:64.
Bread wheat, one of the world’s staple food crops, has the largest, highly repetitive and polyploid genome among the cereal crops. The wheat genome holds the key to crop genetic improvement against challenges such as climate change, environmental degradation, and water scarcity. To unravel the complex wheat genome, the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) is pursuing a chromosome- and chromosome arm-based approach to physical mapping and sequencing. Here we report on the use of a BAC library made from flow-sorted telosomic chromosome 3A short arm (t3AS) for marker development and analysis of sequence composition and comparative evolution of homoeologous genomes of hexaploid wheat.
The end-sequencing of 9,984 random BACs from a chromosome arm 3AS-specific library (TaaCsp3AShA) generated 11,014,359 bp of high quality sequence from 17,591 BAC-ends with an average length of 626 bp. The sequence represents 3.2% of t3AS with an average DNA sequence read every 19 kb. Overall, 79% of the sequence consisted of repetitive elements, 1.38% as coding regions (estimated 2,850 genes) and another 19% of unknown origin. Comparative sequence analysis suggested that 70-77% of the genes present in both 3A and 3B were syntenic with model species. Among the transposable elements, gypsy/sabrina (12.4%) was the most abundant repeat and was significantly more frequent in 3A compared to homoeologous chromosome 3B. Twenty novel repetitive sequences were also identified using de novo repeat identification. BESs were screened to identify simple sequence repeats (SSR) and transposable element junctions. A total of 1,057 SSRs were identified with a density of one per 10.4 kb, and 7,928 junctions between transposable elements (TE) and other sequences were identified with a density of one per 1.39 kb. With the objective of enhancing the marker density of chromosome 3AS, oligonucleotide primers were successfully designed from 758 SSRs and 695 Insertion Site Based Polymorphisms (ISBPs). Of the 96 ISBP primer pairs tested, 28 (29%) were 3A-specific and compared to 17 (18%) for 96 SSRs.
This work reports on the use of wheat chromosome arm 3AS-specific BAC library for the targeted generation of sequence data from a particular region of the huge genome of wheat. A large quantity of sequences were generated from the A genome of hexaploid wheat for comparative genome analysis with homoeologous B and D genomes and other model grass genomes. Hundreds of molecular markers were developed from the 3AS arm-specific sequences; these and other sequences will be useful in gene discovery and physical mapping.
PMCID: PMC3438119  PMID: 22559868
3.  Repetitive part of the banana (Musa acuminata) genome investigated by low-depth 454 sequencing 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:204.
Bananas and plantains (Musa spp.) are grown in more than a hundred tropical and subtropical countries and provide staple food for hundreds of millions of people. They are seed-sterile crops propagated clonally and this makes them vulnerable to a rapid spread of devastating diseases and at the same time hampers breeding improved cultivars. Although the socio-economic importance of bananas and plantains cannot be overestimated, they remain outside the focus of major research programs. This slows down the study of nuclear genome and the development of molecular tools to facilitate banana improvement.
In this work, we report on the first thorough characterization of the repeat component of the banana (M. acuminata cv. 'Calcutta 4') genome. Analysis of almost 100 Mb of sequence data (0.15× genome coverage) permitted partial sequence reconstruction and characterization of repetitive DNA, making up about 30% of the genome. The results showed that the banana repeats are predominantly made of various types of Ty1/copia and Ty3/gypsy retroelements representing 16 and 7% of the genome respectively. On the other hand, DNA transposons were found to be rare. In addition to new families of transposable elements, two new satellite repeats were discovered and found useful as cytogenetic markers. To help in banana sequence annotation, a specific Musa repeat database was created, and its utility was demonstrated by analyzing the repeat composition of 62 genomic BAC clones.
A low-depth 454 sequencing of banana nuclear genome provided the largest amount of DNA sequence data available until now for Musa and permitted reconstruction of most of the major types of DNA repeats. The information obtained in this study improves the knowledge of the long-range organization of banana chromosomes, and provides sequence resources needed for repeat masking and annotation during the Musa genome sequencing project. It also provides sequence data for isolation of DNA markers to be used in genetic diversity studies and in marker-assisted selection.
PMCID: PMC2956553  PMID: 20846365
4.  Structure and evolution of Apetala3, a sex-linked gene in Silene latifolia 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:180.
The evolution of sex chromosomes is often accompanied by gene or chromosome rearrangements. Recently, the gene AP3 was characterized in the dioecious plant species Silene latifolia. It was suggested that this gene had been transferred from an autosome to the Y chromosome.
In the present study we provide evidence for the existence of an X linked copy of the AP3 gene. We further show that the Y copy is probably located in a chromosomal region where recombination restriction occurred during the first steps of sex chromosome evolution. A comparison of X and Y copies did not reveal any clear signs of degenerative processes in exon regions. Instead, both X and Y copies show evidence for relaxed selection compared to the autosomal orthologues in S. vulgaris and S. conica. We further found that promoter sequences differ significantly. Comparison of the genic region of AP3 between the X and Y alleles and the corresponding autosomal copies in the gynodioecious species S. vulgaris revealed a massive accumulation of retrotransposons within one intron of the Y copy of AP3. Analysis of the genomic distribution of these repetitive elements does not indicate that these elements played an important role in the size increase characteristic of the Y chromosome. However, in silico expression analysis shows biased expression of individual domains of the identified retroelements in male plants.
We characterized the structure and evolution of AP3, a sex linked gene with copies on the X and Y chromosomes in the dioecious plant S. latifolia. These copies showed complementary expression patterns and relaxed evolution at protein level compared to autosomal orthologues, which suggests subfunctionalization. One intron of the Y-linked allele was invaded by retrotransposons that display sex-specific expression patterns that are similar to the expression pattern of the corresponding allele, which suggests that these transposable elements may have influenced evolution of expression patterns of the Y copy. These data could help researchers decipher the role of transposable elements in degenerative processes during sex chromosome evolution.
PMCID: PMC3095310  PMID: 20718967
5.  A first survey of the rye (Secale cereale) genome composition through BAC end sequencing of the short arm of chromosome 1R 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:95.
Rye (Secale cereale L.) belongs to tribe Triticeae and is an important temperate cereal. It is one of the parents of man-made species Triticale and has been used as a source of agronomically important genes for wheat improvement. The short arm of rye chromosome 1 (1RS), in particular is rich in useful genes, and as it may increase yield, protein content and resistance to biotic and abiotic stress, it has been introgressed into wheat as the 1BL.1RS translocation. A better knowledge of the rye genome could facilitate rye improvement and increase the efficiency of utilizing rye genes in wheat breeding.
Here, we report on BAC end sequencing of 1,536 clones from two 1RS-specific BAC libraries. We obtained 2,778 (90.4%) useful sequences with a cumulative length of 2,032,538 bp and an average read length of 732 bp. These sequences represent 0.5% of 1RS arm. The GC content of the sequenced fraction of 1RS is 45.9%, and at least 84% of the 1RS arm consists of repetitive DNA. We identified transposable element junctions in BESs and developed insertion site based polymorphism markers (ISBP). Out of the 64 primer pairs tested, 17 (26.6%) were specific for 1RS. We also identified BESs carrying microsatellites suitable for development of 1RS-specific SSR markers.
This work demonstrates the utility of chromosome arm-specific BAC libraries for targeted analysis of large Triticeae genomes and provides new sequence data from the rye genome and molecular markers for the short arm of rye chromosome 1.
PMCID: PMC2565679  PMID: 18803819

Results 1-5 (5)