Diversity and evolution of centromere repeats in the maize genome

Diversity and evolution of centromere repeats in the maize genome

Paul Bilinski, Kevin Distor, Jose Gutierrez-Lopez, Gabriela Mendoza Mendoza, Jinghua Shi, R. Kelly Dawe, Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra

Centromere repeats are found in most eukaryotes and play a critical role in kinetochore formation. Though CentC repeats exhibit considerable diversity both within and among species, little is understood about the mechanisms that drive cen- tromere repeat evolution. Here, we use maize as a model to investigate how a complex history involving polyploidy, fractionation, and recent domestication has impacted the diversity of the maize CentC repeat. We first validate the existence of long tan- dem arrays of repeats in maize and other taxa in the genus Zea. Although we find considerable sequence diversity among CentC copies genome-wide, genetic similar- ity among repeats is highest within these arrays, suggesting that tandem duplica- tions are the primary mechanism for the generation of new copies. Genetic clustering analyses identify similar sequences among distant repeats, and simulations suggest that this pattern may be due to homoplasious mutation. Although the two ancestral subgenomes of maize have contributed nearly equal numbers of centromeres, our analysis shows that the vast majority of all CentC repeats derive from one of the parental genomes. Finally, by comparing maize with its wild progenitor teosinte, we find that the abundance of CentC has decreased through domestication while the peri- centromeric repeat Cent4 has drastically increased.

1 thought on “Diversity and evolution of centromere repeats in the maize genome

  1. Pingback: Author post: Diversity and evolution of centromere repeats in the maize genome | Haldane's Sieve

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