April 21, 2020  |  

Interspecies association mapping links reduced CG to TG substitution rates to the loss of gene-body methylation.

Authors: Kiefer, Christiane and Willing, Eva-Maria and Jiao, Wen-Biao and Sun, Hequan and Piednoël, Mathieu and Hümann, Ulrike and Hartwig, Benjamin and Koch, Marcus A and Schneeberger, Korbinian

Comparative genomics can unravel the genetic basis of species differences; however, successful reports on quantitative traits are still scarce. Here we present genome assemblies of 31 so-far unassembled Brassicaceae plant species and combine them with 16 previously published assemblies to establish the Brassicaceae Diversity Panel. Using a new interspecies association strategy for quantitative traits, we found a so-far unknown association between the unexpectedly high variation in CG to TG substitution rates in genes and the absence of CHROMOMETHYLASE3 (CMT3) orthologues. Low substitution rates were associated with the loss of CMT3, while species with conserved CMT3 orthologues showed high substitution rates. Species without CMT3 also lacked gene-body methylation (gbM), suggesting an evolutionary trade-off between the unknown function of gbM and low substitution rates in Brassicaceae, possibly due to low mutability of non-methylated cytosines.

Journal: Nature plants
DOI: 10.1038/s41477-019-0486-9
Year: 2019

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