Evolutionary modes of emergence of short interspersed nuclear element (SINE) families in grasses
Short interspersed nuclear elements (SINEs) are non‐autonomous transposable elements which are propagated by retrotransposition and constitute an inherent part of the genome of most eukaryotic species. Knowledge of heterogeneous and highly abundant SINEs is crucial for de novo (or improvement of) annotation of whole genome sequences. We scanned Poaceae genome sequences of six important cereals (Oryza sativa, Triticum aestivum, Hordeum vulgare, Panicum virgatum, Sorghum bicolor, Zea mays) and Brachypodium distachyon to examine the diversity and evolution of SINE populations. We comparatively analyzed the structural features, distribution, evolutionary relation and abundance of 32 SINE families and subfamilies within grasses, comprising 11 052 individual copies. The investigation of activity profiles within the Poaceae provides insights into their species‐specific diversification and amplification. We found that Poaceae SINEs (PoaS) fall into two length categories: simple SINEs of up to 180 bp and dimeric SINEs larger than 240 bp. Detailed analysis at the nucleotide level revealed that multimerization of related and unrelated SINE copies is an important evolutionary mechanism of SINE formation. We conclude that PoaS families diversify by massive reshuffling between SINE families, likely caused by insertion of truncated copies, and provide a model for this evolutionary scenario. Twenty‐eight of 32 PoaS families and subfamilies show significant conservation, in particular either in the 5′ or 3′ regions, across Poaceae species and share large sequence stretches with one or more other PoaS families.
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