BackgroundTransposable elements (TEs) are considered to be an important source of genome size variation and genetic and phenotypic plasticity in eukaryotes. Most of our knowledge about TEs comes from large genomic projects and studies focused on model organisms. However, TE dynamics among related taxa from natural populations and the role of TEs at the species or supra-species level, where genome size and karyotype evolution are modulated in concert with polyploidy and chromosomal rearrangements, remain poorly understood. We focused on the holokinetic genus Eleocharis (Cyperaceae), which displays large variation in genome size and the occurrence of polyploidy and agmatoploidy/symploidy. We analyzed and quantified the long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons Ty1-copia and Ty3-gypsy in relation to changes in both genome size and karyotype in Eleocharis. We also examined how this relationship is reflected in the phylogeny of Eleocharis.ResultsUsing flow cytometry, we measured the genome sizes of members of the genus Eleocharis (Cyperaceae). We found positive correlation between the independent phylogenetic contrasts of genome size and chromosome number in Eleocharis. We analyzed PCR-amplified sequences of various reverse transcriptases of the LTR retrotransposons Ty1-copia and Ty3-gypsy (762 sequences in total). Using real-time PCR and dot blot approaches, we quantified the densities of Ty1-copia and Ty3-gypsy within the genomes of the analyzed species. We detected an increasing density of Ty1-copia elements in evolutionarily younger Eleocharis species and found a positive correlation between Ty1-copia densities and C/n-values (an alternative measure of monoploid genome size) in the genus phylogeny. In addition, our analysis of Ty1-copia sequences identified a novel retrotransposon family named Helos1, which is responsible for the increasing density of Ty1-copia. The transition:transversion ratio of Helos1 sequences suggests that Helos1 recently transposed in later-diverging Eleocharis species.ConclusionsUsing several different approaches, we were able to distinguish between the roles of LTR retrotransposons, polyploidy and agmatoploidy/symploidy in shaping Eleocharis genomes and karyotypes. Our results confirm the occurrence of both polyploidy and agmatoploidy/symploidy in Eleocharis. Additionally, we introduce a new player in the process of genome evolution in holokinetic plants: LTR retrotransposons.
Summary• Knowledge of the phylogenetic pattern and biological relevance of the base composition of large eukaryotic genomes (including those of plants) is poor. With the use of flow cytometry (FCM), the amount of available data on the guanine + cytosine (GC) content of plants has nearly doubled in the last decade. However, skepticism exists concerning the reliability of the method because of uncertainty in some input parameters.• Here, we tested the reliability of FCM for estimating GC content by comparison with the biochemical method of DNA temperature melting analysis (TMA). We conducted measurements in 14 plant species with a maximum currently known GC content range (33.6-47.5% as measured by FCM). We also compared the estimations of the GC content by FCM with genomic sequences in 11 Oryza species.• FCM and TMA data exhibited a high degree of correspondence which remained stable over the relatively wide range of binding lengths (3.39-4.09) assumed for the base-specific dye used. A high correlation was also observed between FCM results and the sequence data in Oryza, although the latter GC contents were consistently lower.• Reliable estimates of the genomic base composition in plants by FCM are comparable with estimates obtained using other methods, and so wider application of FCM in future plant genomic research, although it would pose a challenge, would be supported by these findings.
Genome sizes and genomic guanine+cytosine (GC) contents of the Czech vascular flora with new estimates for 1700 species.-Preslia 91: 117-142. The content of DNA in the somatic, unreplicated cell nuclei (genome size) and DNA base composition (GC content) are the basic genomic parameters that can be measured by flow cytometry. Genome size, or ploidy level, can affect many plant properties and are therefore included as important features in modern biological floras and plant trait databases. However, genomic data are still largely measured mainly for taxonomic and biosystematic purposes, and despite the popularity of flow cytometry in the Czech Republic, this information is still missing for many of the vascular plants in the Czech flora. The biological significance of the GC content is less clear compared to the genome size, which, along with the greater difficulty in measuring it, results in the absence of such information for the vast majority of species. Here, we measure these two genomic parameters for 1908 samples of 1700 species in the Czech vascular flora. Here for the first time are reported the genome sizes of more than 1000 species and GC contents of more than 1500 species, which more than doubles the amount of information on the GC content of vascular plants. Together with the published data obtained in our laboratory using the same methods and flow cytometers, this information is now available for 1910 species that occur in the Czech Republic (~83% of this country's permanent flora, excluding apomicts). They are summarized in a table, accompanied by information about assumed chromosome number, ploidy level and an estimate of the monoploid genome size. We further provide a descriptive analysis of this dataset, list extreme values and comment on some cytogeographically interesting findings. This dataset is the largest and most comprehensive set of genomic data covering almost the entire flora of a country. It will serve as the basis of the karyological traits section of the Czech plant trait database Pladias (www.pladias.cz) and for testing of hypotheses about the evolution and biological relevance of these genomic parameters.
Summary1. Disruptive natural selection resulting from specialization on different hosts is recognized as one of the most important driving forces in the diversification of herbivores and parasites. It has been proposed that a similar mechanism could apply to carnivorous predators too, although the evidence is still lacking. 2. Here, we show that the differentiation of biotypes of specialized ant-eating spiders of the genus Zodarion has probably been induced by prey-shifting. We focused on two forms of one species Z. styliferum from the Iberian Peninsula that presumably represent ecological races. We conducted geographic, ecological, venom-oriented, reproductive and genetic divergence analysis among multiple populations collected at a number of sites across Portugal and Madeira. 3. Geographic analysis revealed that the two forms occur in mosaic sympatry. Each form was found to associate in nature with a different ant species in a different habitat. Specifically, the styliferum form hunted predominantly Messor ants, and the extraneum form hunted mainly Camponotus ants. Laboratory experiments revealed that the two forms exhibit a significant preference for attacking focal ants, demonstrating higher paralysis efficiency, and also show different venom composition. Cross-mating of the two forms was significantly less likely than between pairs of the same form, suggesting moderate assortative mating. Phylogenetic analyses indicate low genetic differentiation of the two forms and parallel-repeated evolution of biotypes. 4. Adaptive prey-shifting correlated with habitat preference are at present the most valid explanations for biotype formation in Zodarion. The speciation of ant-eating Zodarion spiders thus appears to follow a scenario similar to that of host-shifting in parasites and herbivores.
Background and Aims Studies in the carnivorous family Lentibulariaceae in the last years resulted in the discovery of the smallest plant genomes and an unusual pattern of genomic GC content evolution. However, scarcity of genomic data in other carnivorous clades still prevents a generalization of the observed patterns. Here the aim was to fill this gap by mapping genome evolution in the second largest carnivorous family, Droseraceae, where this evolution may be affected by chromosomal holokinetism in Drosera.Methods The genome size and genomic GC content of 71 Droseraceae species were measured by flow cytometry. A dated phylogeny was constructed, and the evolution of both genomic parameters and their relationship to species climatic niches were tested using phylogeny-based statistics.Key Results The 2C genome size of Droseraceae varied between 488 and 10 927 Mbp, and the GC content ranged between 37Á1 and 44Á7 %. The genome sizes and genomic GC content of carnivorous and holocentric species did not differ from those of their non-carnivorous and monocentric relatives. The genomic GC content positively correlated with genome size and annual temperature fluctuations. The genome size and chromosome numbers were inversely correlated in the Australian clade of Drosera.Conclusions Our results indicate that neither carnivory (nutrient scarcity) nor the holokinetism have a prominent effect on size and DNA base composition of Droseraceae genomes. However, the holokinetic drive seems to affect karyotype evolution in one of the major clades of Drosera. Our survey confirmed that the evolution of GC content is tightly connected with the evolution of genome size and also with environmental conditions.
Abstract. Selected life-history traits of an oonopid spider, Triaeris stenaspis Simon, which has been introduced into greenhouses in Europe, were investigated. Spiders were reared in the laboratory under constant physical and dietary conditions, and followed from egg to death. The spiders passed through 3 juvenile instars, each lasting approximately a month. The adult stage lasted on average 6 months, which is 54% of the entire life cycle. The mortality in each juvenile instar was similar. Five morphological characters were recorded for each instar, which provided a reliable means of identifying the developmental stages. All spiders developed into females and although kept isolated they laid fertile eggs, which indicates thelytokous parthenogenesis. Eggs were always enclosed in a disc-shaped egg-sac, each containing 2 eggs. Total fecundity was on average 27 eggs and rate of laying eggs decreased with age. Fecundity was positively correlated with adult longevity. Fertility was rather low, approximately 59%. It was negatively correlated with fecundity but not related to longevity. Low fertility appears to be the only cost of parthenogenetic reproduction. There was considerable genotypic variation in all traits studied compared to that in sexually reproducing spiders. There were no apparent maternal effects on all the traits studied. Using molecular methods proved that parthenogenesis in T. stenaspis is not induced by the endosymbiotic bacteria,
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