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Genome Res. 2003 Dec;13(12):2533-40.

Does recombination shape the distribution and evolution of tandemly arrayed genes (TAGs) in the Arabidopsis thaliana genome?

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Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


Tandemly arrayed genes (TAGs) are an important genomic component. However, most previous studies have focused on individual TAG families, and a broader characterization of their genomic distribution is not yet available. In this study, we examined the distribution of TAGs in the Arabidopsis thaliana genome and examined TAG density with relation to recombination rates. Recombination rates along A. thaliana chromosomes were estimated by comparing a genetic map with the genome sequence. Average recombination rates in A. thaliana are high, and rates vary more than threefold among chromosomal regions. Comparisons between TAG density and recombination indicate a positive correlation on chromosomes 1, 2, and 3. Moreover, there is a consistent centromeric effect. Relative to single-copy genes, TAGs are proportionally less frequent in centromeres than on chromosomal arms. We also examined several factors that have been proposed to affect the sequence evolution of TAG members. Sequence divergence is related to the number of members in the TAG, but genomic location has no obvious effect on TAG sequence divergence, nor does the presence of unrelated genes within a TAG. Overall, the distribution of TAGs in the genome is not consistent with theoretical models predicting the accumulation of repeats in regions of low recombination but may be consistent with stabilizing selection models of TAG evolution.

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