Exploring the diploid wheat ancestral A genome through sequence comparison at the high-molecular-weight glutenin locus region
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The polyploid nature of hexaploid wheat (T. aestivum, AABBDD) often represents a great challenge in various aspects of research including genetic mapping, map-based cloning of important genes, and sequencing and accurately assembly of its genome. To explore the utility of ancestral diploid species of polyploid wheat, sequence variation of T. urartu (A(u)A(u)) was analyzed by comparing its 277-kb large genomic region carrying the important Glu-1 locus with the homologous regions from the A genomes of the diploid T. monococcum (A(m)A(m)), tetraploid T. turgidum (AABB), and hexaploid T. aestivum (AABBDD). Our results revealed that in addition to a high degree of the gene collinearity, nested retroelement structures were also considerably conserved among the A(u) genome and the A genomes in polyploid wheats, suggesting that the majority of the repetitive sequences in the A genomes of polyploid wheats originated from the diploid A(u) genome. The difference in the compared region between A(u) and A is mainly caused by four differential TE insertion and two deletion events between these genomes. The estimated divergence time of A genomes calculated on nucleotide substitution rate in both shared TEs and collinear genes further supports the closer evolutionary relationship of A to A(u) than to A(m). The structure conservation in the repetitive regions promoted us to develop repeat junction markers based on the A(u) sequence for mapping the A genome in hexaploid wheat. Eighty percent of these repeat junction markers were successfully mapped to the corresponding region in hexaploid wheat, suggesting that T. urartu could serve as a useful resource for developing molecular markers for genetic and breeding studies in hexaploid wheat.
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