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Title: Born in the mitochondrion and raised in the nucleus: evolution of a novel tandem repeat family in Medicago polymorpha (Fabaceae)

Plant nuclear genomes harbor sequence elements derived from the organelles (mitochondrion and plastid) through intracellular gene transfer (IGT). Nuclear genomes also show a dramatic range of repeat content, suggesting that any sequence can be readily amplified. These two aspects of plant nuclear genomes are well recognized but have rarely been linked. Through investigation of 31Medicagotaxa we detected exceptionally high post‐IGT amplification of mitochondrial (mt) DNA sequences containingrps10in the nuclear genome ofMedicago polymorphaand closely related species. The amplified sequences were characterized as tandem arrays of five distinct repeat motifs (2157, 1064, 987, 971, and 587 bp) that have diverged from the mt genome (mitogenome) in theM. polymorphanuclear genome. The mtrps10‐like arrays were identified in seven loci (six intergenic and one telomeric) of the nuclear chromosome assemblies and were the most abundant tandem repeat family, representing 1.6–3.0% of total genomic DNA, a value approximately three‐fold greater than the entire mitogenome inM. polymorpha. Compared to a typical mt gene, the mtrps10‐like sequence coverage level was 691.5–7198‐fold higher inM. polymorphaand closely related species. In addition to the post‐IGT amplification, our analysis identified the canonical telomeric repeat and the species‐specific satellite arrays that are likely attributable to an ancestral chromosomal fusion inM. polymorpha. A possible relationship between chromosomal instability and the mtrps10‐like tandem repeat family in theM. polymorphaclade is discussed.

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Journal Name:
The Plant Journal
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 389-406
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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