University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Genetics Seminar  >  The genome landscape: consequences of repetitive DNA organization and evolution in diploid and polyploid crops

The genome landscape: consequences of repetitive DNA organization and evolution in diploid and polyploid crops

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Caroline Newnham.

Host: Anne Ferguson-Smith

As in other species, repetitive DNA makes up the majority of the plant genome, including shorter and longer tandem repeats, DNA transposons and retrotransposons. These are often the most rapidly evolving component of the genome, but many aspects of their evolution are difficult to study because of the high copy numbers and degeneracy. Rapid evolution means the elements can provide useful markers for evolution, particularly in species that are polyploid containing several related genomes. Other elements are related to pararetroviruses, and may have a role in plant virus protection. The functions of repeats may range from epigenetic through genetic, and I will discuss these in relation to evolutionary constraints – “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution” as stated by Theodosius Dobzhansky, and “The history of all organisms is inscribed in the chromosomes” as noted by Hitoshi Kihara. We can develop models of drivers and mechanisms. New work I will discuss is exploiting long, single-molecule DNA sequencing (Nanopore), for the first time, to give insight into the organization of arrays of tandem repeats, their interspersion with retroelements, and other rearrangements. Preliminary results show insertion of particular retroelements into tandem arrays of 8.5kb 45S rDNA units, although we have concerns about sequencing artefacts in some situations. Our somewhat out-of-date website www.molcyt.com gives some details of our programme.

This talk is part of the Genetics Seminar series.

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