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Chromosome Res. 2003;11(1):3-21.

Divergence of satellite DNA and interspersion of dispersed repeats in the genome of the wild beet Beta procumbens.

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  • 1Plant Molecular Cytogenetics Group, Institute of Crop Science and Plant Breeding, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Olshausenstr. 40, D-24118 Kiel, Germany.


Several repetitive sequences of the genome of Beta procumbens Chr. Sm., a wild beet species of the section Procumbentes of the genus Beta have been isolated. According to their genomic organization, the repeats were assigned to satellite DNA and families of dispersed DNA sequences. The tandem repeats are 229-246 bp long and belong to an AluI restriction satellite designated pAp11. Monomers of this satellite DNA form subfamilies which can be distinguished by the divergence or methylation of an internal restriction site. The satellite is amplified in the section Procumbentes, but is also found in species of the section Beta including cultivated beet (Beta vulgaris). The existence of the pAp11 satellite in distantly related species suggests that the AluI sequence family is an ancient component of Beta genomes and the ancestor of the diverged satellite subfamily pEV4 in B. vulgaris. Comparative fluorescent in-situ hybridization revealed remarkable differences in the chromosomal position between B. procumbens and B. vulgaris, indicating that the pAp11 and pEV4 satellites were most likely involved in the expansion or rearrangement of the intercalary B. vulgaris heterochromatin. Furthermore, we describe the molecular structure, and genomic and chromosomal organization of two repetitive DNA families which were designated pAp4 and pAp22 and are 1354 and 582 bp long, respectively. The families consist of sequence elements which are widely dispersed along B. procumbens chromosomes with local clustering and exclusion from distal euchromatic regions. FISH on meiotic chromosomes showed that both dispersed repeats are colocalized in some chromosomal regions. The interspersion of repeats of the pAp4 and pAp22 family was studied by PCR and enabled the determination of repeat flanking sequences. Sequence analysis revealed that pAp22 is either derived from or part of a long terminal repeat (LTR) of an Athila-like retrotransposon. Southern analysis and FISH with pAp4 and pAp22 showed that both dispersed repeats are species-specific and can be used as DNA probes to discriminate parental genomes in interspecific hybrids. This was tested in the sugar beet hybrid PRO1 which contains a small B. procumbens chromosome fragment.

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