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Genetics. Dec 1998; 150(4): 1615–1623.
PMCID: PMC1460426

Retrotransposon-related DNA sequences in the centromeres of grass chromosomes.

Abstract

Several distinct DNA fragments were subcloned from a sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) bacterial artificial chromosome clone 13I16 that was derived from a centromere. Three fragments showed significant sequence identity to either Ty3/gypsy- or Ty1/copia-like retrotransposons. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis revealed that the Ty1/copia-related DNA sequences are not specific to the centromeric regions. However, the Ty3/gypsy-related sequences were present exclusively in the centromeres of all sorghum chromosomes. FISH and gel-blot hybridization showed that these sequences are also conserved in the centromeric regions of all species within Gramineae. Thus, we report a new retrotransposon that is conserved in specific chromosomal regions of distantly related eukaryotic species. We propose that the Ty3/gypsy-like retrotransposons in the grass centromeres may be ancient insertions and are likely to have been amplified during centromere evolution. The possible role of centromeric retrotransposons in plant centromere function is discussed.

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Selected References

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