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Plant Physiol. 2008 Jul;147(3):1396-411. doi: 10.1104/pp.108.119081. Epub 2008 May 28.

Sequence analysis of bacterial artificial chromosome clones from the apospory-specific genomic region of Pennisetum and Cenchrus.

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Department of Horticulture, University of Georgia, Tifton, Georgia 31793-0748, USA.


Apomixis, asexual reproduction through seed, is widespread among angiosperm families. Gametophytic apomixis in Pennisetum squamulatum and Cenchrus ciliaris is controlled by the apospory-specific genomic region (ASGR), which is highly conserved and macrosyntenic between these species. Thirty-two ASGR bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) isolated from both species and one ASGR-recombining BAC from P. squamulatum, which together cover approximately 2.7 Mb of DNA, were used to investigate the genomic structure of this region. Phrap assembly of 4,521 high-quality reads generated 1,341 contiguous sequences (contigs; 730 from the ASGR and 30 from the ASGR-recombining BAC in P. squamulatum, plus 580 from the C. ciliaris ASGR). Contigs containing putative protein-coding regions unrelated to transposable elements were identified based on protein similarity after Basic Local Alignment Search Tool X analysis. These putative coding regions were further analyzed in silico with reference to the rice (Oryza sativa) and sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) genomes using the resources at Gramene ( and Phytozome ( and by hybridization against sorghum BAC filters. The ASGR sequences reveal that the ASGR (1) contains both gene-rich and gene-poor segments, (2) contains several genes that may play a role in apomictic development, (3) has many classes of transposable elements, and (4) does not exhibit large-scale synteny with either rice or sorghum genomes but does contain multiple regions of microsynteny with these species.

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