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Genetics. Apr 2004; 166(4): 1935–1946.
PMCID: PMC1470824

Dynamic changes in the distribution of a satellite homologous to intergenic 26-18S rDNA spacer in the evolution of Nicotiana.


An approximately 135-bp sequence called the A1/A2 repeat was isolated from the transcribed region of the 26-18S rDNA intergenic spacer (IGS) of Nicotiana tomentosiformis. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and Southern blot analysis revealed its occurrence as an independent satellite (termed an A1/A2 satellite) outside of rDNA loci in species of Nicotiana section Tomentosae. The chromosomal location, patterns of genomic dispersion, and copy numbers of its tandemly arranged units varied between the species. In more distantly related Nicotiana species the A1/A2 repeats were found only at the nucleolar organizer regions (NOR). There was a trend toward the elimination of the A1/A2 satellite in N. tabacum (tobacco), an allotetraploid with parents closely related to the diploids N. sylvestris and N. tomentosiformis. This process may have already commenced in an S(3) generation of synthetic tobacco. Cytosine residues in the IGS were significantly hypomethylated compared with the A1/A2 satellite. There was no clear separation between the IGS and satellite fractions in sequence analysis of individual clones and we found no evidence for CG suppression. Taken together the data indicate a dynamic nature of the A1/A2 repeats in Nicotiana genomes, with evidence for recurrent integration, copy number expansions, and contractions.

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