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G3 (Bethesda). 2013 Dec 9;3(12):2121-30. doi: 10.1534/g3.113.008599.

Rapid degeneration of noncoding DNA regions surrounding SlAP3X/Y after recombination suppression in the dioecious plant Silene latifolia.

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  • 1RIKEN Nishina Center, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.


Silene latifolia is a dioecious plant with heteromorphic XY sex chromosomes. Previous studies of sex chromosome-linked genes have suggested a gradual divergence between the X-linked and the Y-linked genes in proportion to the distance from the pseudoautosomal region. However, such a comparison has yet to be made for the noncoding regions. To better characterize the nonrecombining region of the X and Y chromosomes, we sequenced bacterial artificial chromosome clones containing the sex chromosome-linked paralogs SlAP3X and SlAP3Y, including 115 kb and 73 kb of sequences, respectively, flanking these genes. The synonymous nucleotide divergence between SlAP3X and SlAP3Y indicated that recombination stopped approximately 3.4 million years ago. Sequence homology analysis revealed the presence of six long terminal repeat retrotransposon-like elements. Using the nucleotide divergence calculated between left and right long terminal repeat sequences, insertion dates were estimated to be 0.083-1.6 million years ago, implying that all elements detected were inserted after recombination stopped. A reciprocal sequence homology search facilitated the identification of four homologous noncoding DNA regions between the X and Y chromosomes, spanning 6.7% and 10.6% of the X chromosome-derived and Y chromosome-derived sequences, respectively, investigated. Genomic Southern blotting and fluorescence in situ hybridization showed that the noncoding DNA flanking SlAP3X/Y has homology to many regions throughout the genome, regardless of whether they were homologous between the X and Y chromosomes. This finding suggests that most noncoding DNA regions rapidly lose their counterparts because of the introduction of transposable elements and indels (insertion-deletions) after recombination has stopped.


Silene latifolia; SlAP3; sequence divergence; sex chromosome; transposon

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