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  1. Abstract Background Transposable elements (TEs) are powerful creators of genotypic and phenotypic diversity due to their inherent mutagenic capabilities and in this way they serve as a deep reservoir of sequences for genomic variation. As agents of genetic disruption, a TE’s potential to impact phenotype is partially a factor of its location in the genome. Previous research has shown TEs’ ability to impact the expression of neighboring genes, however our understanding of this trend is hampered by the exceptional amount of diversity in the TE world, and a lack of publicly available computational methods that quantify the presence of TEs relative to genes. Results Here, we have developed a tool to more easily quantify TE presence relative to genes through the use of only a gene and TE annotation, yielding a new metric we call TE Density. Briefly defined as the proportion of TE-occupied base-pairs relative to a window-size of the genome. This new pipeline reports TE density for each gene in the genome, for each type descriptor of TE (order and superfamily), and for multiple positions and distances relative to the gene (upstream, intragenic, and downstream) over sliding, user-defined windows. In this way, we overcome previous limitations to themore »study of TE-gene relationships by focusing on all TE types present in the genome, utilizing flexible genomic distances for measurement, and reporting a TE presence metric for every gene in the genome. Conclusions Together, this new tool opens up new avenues for studying TE-gene relationships, genome architecture, comparative genomics, and the tremendous diversity present of the TE world. TE Density is open-source and freely available at: https://github.com/sjteresi/TE_Density .« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
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  5. Morrell, P (Ed.)
    Abstract By modeling the homoeologous gene losses that occurred in 50 genomes deriving from ten distinct polyploidy events, we show that the evolutionary forces acting on polyploids are remarkably similar, regardless of whether they occur in flowering plants, ciliates, fishes, or yeasts. We show that many of the events show a relative rate of duplicate gene loss before the first postpolyploidy speciation that is significantly higher than in later phases of their evolution. The relatively weak selective constraint experienced by the single-copy genes these losses produced leads us to suggest that most of the purely selectively neutral duplicate gene losses occur in the immediate postpolyploid period. Nearly all of the events show strong evidence of biases in the duplicate losses, consistent with them being allopolyploidies, with 2 distinct progenitors contributing to the modern species. We also find ongoing and extensive reciprocal gene losses (alternative losses of duplicated ancestral genes) between these genomes. With the exception of a handful of closely related taxa, all of these polyploid organisms are separated from each other by tens to thousands of reciprocal gene losses. As a result, it is very unlikely that viable diploid hybrid species could form between these taxa, since matings betweenmore »such hybrids would tend to produce offspring lacking essential genes. It is, therefore, possible that the relatively high frequency of recurrent polyploidies in some lineages may be due to the ability of new polyploidies to bypass reciprocal gene loss barriers.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 22, 2023
  6. Abstract The crop wild relative Fragaria nilgerrensis is adapted to a variety of diverse habitats across its native range in China. Thus, discoveries made in this species could serve as a useful guide in the development of new superior strawberry cultivars that are resilient to new or variable environments. However, the genetic diversity and genetic architecture of traits in this species underlying important adaptive traits remain poorly understood. Here, we used whole-genome resequencing data from 193 F. nilgerrensis individuals spanning the distribution range in China to investigate the genetic diversity, population structure and genomic basis of local adaptation. We identified four genetic groups, with the western group located in Hengduan Mountains exhibiting the highest genetic diversity. Redundancy analysis suggested that both environment and geographic variables shaped a significant proportion of the genomic variation. Our analyses revealed that the environmental difference explains more of the observed genetic variation than geographic distance. This suggests that adaptation to distinct habitats, which present a unique combination of abiotic factors, likely drove genetic differentiation. Lastly, by implementing selective sweep scans and genome–environment association analysis throughout the genome, we identified the genetic variation associated with local adaptation and investigated the functions of putative candidate genes inmore »F. nilgerrensis.« less
  7. Abstract

    Ethiopian mustard (Brassica carinata) is an ancient crop with remarkable stress resilience and a desirable seed fatty acid profile for biofuel uses. Brassica carinata is one of six Brassica species that share three major genomes from three diploid species (AA, BB, and CC) that spontaneously hybridized in a pairwise manner to form three allotetraploid species (AABB, AACC, and BBCC). Of the genomes of these species, that of B. carinata is the least understood. Here, we report a chromosome scale 1.31-Gbp genome assembly with 156.9-fold sequencing coverage for B. carinata, completing the reference genomes comprising the classic Triangle of U, a classical theory of the evolutionary relationships among these six species. Our assembly provides insights into the hybridization event that led to the current B. carinata genome and the genomic features that gave rise to the superior agronomic traits of B. carinata. Notably, we identified an expansion of transcription factor networks and agronomically important gene families. Completion of the Triangle of U comparative genomics platform has allowed us to examine the dynamics of polyploid evolution and the role of subgenome dominance in the domestication and continuing agronomic improvement of B. carinata and other Brassica species.

  8. Wittkopp, Patricia (Ed.)
    Abstract Recent pangenome studies have revealed a large fraction of the gene content within a species exhibits presence-absence variation (PAV). However, coding regions alone provide an incomplete assessment of functional genomic sequence variation at the species level. Little to no attention has been paid to noncoding regulatory regions in pangenome studies, though these sequences directly modulate gene expression and phenotype. To uncover regulatory genetic variation, we generated chromosome-scale genome assemblies for thirty Arabidopsis thaliana accessions from multiple distinct habitats and characterized species level variation in Conserved Noncoding Sequences (CNS). Our analyses uncovered not only PAV and positional variation (PosV) but that diversity in CNS is non-random, with variants shared across different accessions. Using evolutionary analyses and chromatin accessibility data, we provide further evidence supporting roles for conserved and variable CNS in gene regulation. Additionally, our data suggests transposable elements contribute to CNS variation. Characterizing species-level diversity in all functional genomic sequences may later uncover previously unknown mechanistic links between genotype and phenotype.
  9. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 12, 2023