Despite advances in sequencing, the goal of obtaining a comprehensive view of genetic variation in populations is still far from reached. We sequenced 180 lines of A. thaliana from Sweden to obtain as complete a picture as possible of variation in a single region. Whereas simple polymorphisms in the unique portion of the genome are readily identified, other polymorphisms are not. The massive variation in genome size identified by flow cytometry seems largely to be due to 45S rDNA copy number variation, with lines from northern Sweden having particularly large numbers of copies. Strong selection is evident in the form of long-range linkage disequilibrium (LD), as well as in LD between nearby compensatory mutations. Many footprints of selective sweeps were found in lines from northern Sweden, and a massive global sweep was shown to have involved a 700-kb transposition.
Despite the central importance of noncoding DNA to gene regulation and evolution, understanding of the extent of selection on plant noncoding DNA remains limited compared to that of other organisms. Here we report sequencing of genomes from three Brassicaceae species (Leavenworthia alabamica, Sisymbrium irio and Aethionema arabicum) and their joint analysis with six previously sequenced crucifer genomes. Conservation across orthologous bases suggests that at least 17% of the Arabidopsis thaliana genome is under selection, with nearly one-quarter of the sequence under selection lying outside of coding regions. Much of this sequence can be localized to approximately 90,000 conserved noncoding sequences (CNSs) that show evidence of transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation. Population genomics analyses of two crucifer species, A. thaliana and Capsella grandiflora, confirm that most of the identified CNSs are evolving under medium to strong purifying selection. Overall, these CNSs highlight both similarities and several key differences between the regulatory DNA of plants and other species.
3 1 l e t t e r sThe shift from outcrossing to selfing is common in flowering plants 1,2 , but the genomic consequences and the speed at which they emerge remain poorly understood. An excellent model for understanding the evolution of self fertilization is provided by Capsella rubella, which became self compatible <200,000 years ago. We report a C. rubella reference genome sequence and compare RNA expression and polymorphism patterns between C. rubella and its outcrossing progenitor Capsella grandiflora. We found a clear shift in the expression of genes associated with flowering phenotypes, similar to that seen in Arabidopsis, in which self fertilization evolved about 1 million years ago. Comparisons of the two Capsella species showed evidence of rapid genome-wide relaxation of purifying selection in C. rubella without a concomitant change in transposable element abundance. Overall we document that the transition to selfing may be typified by parallel shifts in gene expression, along with a measurable reduction of purifying selection.
The genus Brassica includes several important agricultural and horticultural crops. Their current genome structures were shaped by whole-genome triplication followed by extensive diploidization. The availability of several crucifer genome sequences, especially that of Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa), enables study of the evolution of the mesohexaploid Brassica genomes from their diploid progenitors. We reconstructed three ancestral subgenomes of B. rapa (n = 10) by comparing its whole-genome sequence to ancestral and extant Brassicaceae genomes. All three B. rapa paleogenomes apparently consisted of seven chromosomes, similar to the ancestral translocation Proto-Calepineae Karyotype (tPCK; n = 7), which is the evolutionarily younger variant of the Proto-Calepineae Karyotype (n = 7). Based on comparative analysis of genome sequences or linkage maps of Brassica oleracea, Brassica nigra, radish (Raphanus sativus), and other closely related species, we propose a two-step merging of three tPCK-like genomes to form the hexaploid ancestor of the tribe Brassiceae with 42 chromosomes. Subsequent diversification of the Brassiceae was marked by extensive genome reshuffling and chromosome number reduction mediated by translocation events and followed by loss and/or inactivation of centromeres. Furthermore, via interspecies genome comparison, we refined intervals for seven of the genomic blocks of the Ancestral Crucifer Karyotype (n = 8), thus revising the key reference genome for evolutionary genomics of crucifers.
Karyotype evolution in species with identical chromosome number but belonging to distinct phylogenetic clades is a longstanding question of plant biology, intractable by conventional cytogenetic techniques. Here, we apply comparative chromosome painting (CCP) to reconstruct karyotype evolution in eight species with x=7 (2n=14, 28) chromosomes from six Brassicaceae tribes. CCP data allowed us to reconstruct an ancestral Proto-Calepineae Karyotype (PCK; n=7) shared by all x=7 species analyzed. The PCK has been preserved in the tribes Calepineae, Conringieae, and Noccaeeae, whereas karyotypes of Eutremeae, Isatideae, and Sisymbrieae are characterized by an additional translocation. The inferred chromosomal phylogeny provided compelling evidence for a monophyletic origin of the x=7 tribes. Moreover, chromosomal data along with previously published gene phylogenies strongly suggest the PCK to represent an ancestral karyotype of the tribe Brassiceae prior to its tribe-specific whole-genome triplication. As the PCK shares five chromosomes and conserved associations of genomic blocks with the putative Ancestral Crucifer Karyotype (n=8) of crucifer Lineage I, we propose that both karyotypes descended from a common ancestor. A tentative origin of the PCK via chromosome number reduction from n=8 to n=7 is outlined. Comparative chromosome maps of two important model species, Noccaea caerulescens and Thellungiella halophila, and complete karyotypes of two purported autotetraploid Calepineae species (2n=4x=28) were reconstructed by CCP.
Mesopolyploid whole-genome duplication (WGD) was revealed in the ancestry of Australian Brassicaceae species with diploid-like chromosome numbers (n = 4 to 6). Multicolor comparative chromosome painting was used to reconstruct complete cytogenetic maps of the cryptic ancient polyploids. Cytogenetic analysis showed that the karyotype of the Australian Camelineae species descended from the eight ancestral chromosomes (n = 8) through allopolyploid WGD followed by the extensive reduction of chromosome number. Nuclear and maternal gene phylogenies corroborated the hybrid origin of the mesotetraploid ancestor and suggest that the hybridization event occurred ;6 to 9 million years ago.The four, five, and six fusion chromosome pairs of the analyzed close relatives of Arabidopsis thaliana represent complex mosaics of duplicated ancestral genomic blocks reshuffled by numerous chromosome rearrangements. Unequal reciprocal translocations with or without preceeding pericentric inversions and purported end-to-end chromosome fusions accompanied by inactivation and/or loss of centromeres are hypothesized to be the main pathways for the observed chromosome number reduction. Our results underline the significance of multiple rounds of WGD in the angiosperm genome evolution and demonstrate that chromosome number per se is not a reliable indicator of ploidy level.
Despite evolutionary conserved mechanisms to silence transposable element activity, there are drastic differences in the abundance of transposable elements even among closely related plant species. We conducted a de novo assembly for the 375 Mb genome of the perennial model plant, Arabis alpina. Analysing this genome revealed long-lasting and recent transposable element activity predominately driven by Gypsy long terminal repeat retrotransposons, which extended the low-recombining pericentromeres and transformed large formerly euchromatic regions into repeat-rich pericentromeric regions. This reduced capacity for long terminal repeat retrotransposon silencing and removal in A. alpina co-occurs with unexpectedly low levels of DNA methylation. Most remarkably, the striking reduction of symmetrical CG and CHG methylation suggests weakened DNA methylation maintenance in A. alpina compared with Arabidopsis thaliana. Phylogenetic analyses indicate a highly dynamic evolution of some components of methylation maintenance machinery that might be related to the unique methylation in A. alpina.
Fixed chromosomal inversions can reduce gene flow and promote speciation in two ways: by suppressing recombination and by carrying locally favored alleles at multiple loci. However, it is unknown whether favored mutations slowly accumulate on older inversions or if young inversions spread because they capture preexisting adaptive Quantitative Trait Loci (QTLs). By genetic mapping, chromosome painting and genome sequencing we have identified a major inversion controlling ecologically important traits in Boechera stricta. The inversion arose since the last glaciation and subsequently reached local high frequency in a hybrid speciation zone. Furthermore, the inversion shows signs of positive directional selection. To test whether the inversion could have captured existing, linked QTLs, we crossed standard, collinear haplotypes from the hybrid zone and found multiple linked phenology QTLs within the inversion region. These findings provide the first direct evidence that linked, locally adapted QTLs may be captured by young inversions during incipient speciation.
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