Long terminal repeat retrotransposons (LTR-RTs) are a predominant group of plant transposable elements (TEs) that are an important component of plant genomes. A large number of LTR-RTs have been annotated in the genomes of the agronomically important oil and vegetable crops of the genus Brassica. Herein, full-length LTR-RTs in the genomes of Brassica and other closely related species were systematically analyzed. The full-length LTR-RT content varied greatly (from 0.43% to 23.4%) between different species, with Gypsy-like LTR-RTs constituting a primary group across these genomes. More importantly, many annotated LTR-RTs (from 10.03% to 33.25% of all detected LTR-RTs) were found to be enriched in localized hotspot regions. Furthermore, all of the analyzed species showed evidence of having experienced at least one round of a LTR-RT burst, with Raphanus sativus experiencing three or more. Moreover, these relatively ancient LTR-RT amplifications exhibited a clear expansion at specific time points. To gain a further understanding of this timing, Brassica rapa, B. oleracea, and R. sativus were examined for the presence of syntenic regions, but none were present. These findings indicate that these LTR-RT burst events were not inherited from a common ancestor, but instead were species-specific bursts that occurred after the divergence of Brassica species. This study further exemplifies the complexities of TE amplifications during the evolution of plant genomes and suggests that these LTR-RT bursts play an important role in genome expansion and divergence in Brassica species.
Journal: Horticultural plant journal