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Genome. 2002 Aug;45(4):745-51.

LTR retrotransposons in the dioecious plant Silene latifolia.

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Department of Integrated Biosciences, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Chiba, Japan.


Conserved domains of two types of LTR retrotransposons, Tyl-copia- and Ty3-gypsy-like retrotransposons, were isolated from the dioecious plant Silene latifolia, whose sex is determined by X and Y chromosomes. Southern hybridization analyses using these retrotransposons as probes resulted in identical patterns from male and female genomes. Fluorescence in situ hybridization indicated that these retrotransposons do not accumulate specifically in the sex chromosomes. These results suggest that recombination between the sex chromosomes of S. latifolia has not been severely reduced. Conserved reverse transcriptase regions of Ty1-copia-like retrotransposons were isolated from 13 different Silene species and classified into two major families. Their categorization suggests that parallel divergence of the Ty1-copia-like retrotransposons occurred during the differentiation of Silene species. Most functional retrotransposons from three dioecious species, S. latifolia, S. dioica, and S. diclinis, fell into two clusters. The evolutionary dynamics of retrotransposons implies that, in the genus Silene, dioecious species evolved recently from gynodioecious species.

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