April 21, 2020  |  

A reference genome for pea provides insight into legume genome evolution.

We report the first annotated chromosome-level reference genome assembly for pea, Gregor Mendel’s original genetic model. Phylogenetics and paleogenomics show genomic rearrangements across legumes and suggest a major role for repetitive elements in pea genome evolution. Compared to other sequenced Leguminosae genomes, the pea genome shows intense gene dynamics, most likely associated with genome size expansion when the Fabeae diverged from its sister tribes. During Pisum evolution, translocation and transposition differentially occurred across lineages. This reference sequence will accelerate our understanding of the molecular basis of agronomically important traits and support crop improvement.


April 21, 2020  |  

Differential retention of transposable element-derived sequences in outcrossing Arabidopsis genomes.

Transposable elements (TEs) are genomic parasites with major impacts on host genome architecture and host adaptation. A proper evaluation of their evolutionary significance has been hampered by the paucity of short scale phylogenetic comparisons between closely related species. Here, we characterized the dynamics of TE accumulation at the micro-evolutionary scale by comparing two closely related plant species, Arabidopsis lyrata and A. halleri.Joint genome annotation in these two outcrossing species confirmed that both contain two distinct populations of TEs with either ‘recent’ or ‘old’ insertion histories. Identification of rare segregating insertions suggests that diverse TE families contribute to the ongoing dynamics of TE accumulation in the two species. Orthologous TE fragments (i.e. those that have been maintained in both species), tend to be located closer to genes than those that are retained in one species only. Compared to non-orthologous TE insertions, those that are orthologous tend to produce fewer short interfering RNAs, are less heavily methylated when found within or adjacent to genes and these tend to have lower expression levels. These findings suggest that long-term retention of TE insertions reflects their frequent acquisition of adaptive roles and/or the deleterious effects of removing nearly neutral TE insertions when they are close to genes.Our results indicate a rapid evolutionary dynamics of the TE landscape in these two outcrossing species, with an important input of a diverse set of new insertions with variable propensity to resist deletion.


April 21, 2020  |  

Retrotranspositional landscape of Asian rice revealed by 3000 genomes.

The recent release of genomic sequences for 3000 rice varieties provides access to the genetic diversity at species level for this crop. We take advantage of this resource to unravel some features of the retrotranspositional landscape of rice. We develop software TRACKPOSON specifically for the detection of transposable elements insertion polymorphisms (TIPs) from large datasets. We apply this tool to 32 families of retrotransposons and identify more than 50,000 TIPs in the 3000 rice genomes. Most polymorphisms are found at very low frequency, suggesting that they may have occurred recently in agro. A genome-wide association study shows that these activations in rice may be triggered by external stimuli, rather than by the alteration of genetic factors involved in transposable element silencing pathways. Finally, the TIPs dataset is used to trace the origin of rice domestication. Our results suggest that rice originated from three distinct domestication events.


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