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BMC Plant Biol. 2011 Sep 12;11:126. doi: 10.1186/1471-2229-11-126.

Dynamic distribution patterns of ribosomal DNA and chromosomal evolution in Paphiopedilum, a lady's slipper orchid.

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1
Department of Biological Sciences, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Paphiopedilum is a horticulturally and ecologically important genus of ca. 80 species of lady's slipper orchids native to Southeast Asia. These plants have long been of interest regarding their chromosomal evolution, which involves a progressive aneuploid series based on either fission or fusion of centromeres. Chromosome number is positively correlated with genome size, so rearrangement processes must include either insertion or deletion of DNA segments. We have conducted Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH) studies using 5S and 25S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) probes to survey for rearrangements, duplications, and phylogenetically-correlated variation within Paphiopedilum. We further studied sequence variation of the non-transcribed spacers of 5S rDNA (5S-NTS) to examine their complex duplication history, including the possibility that concerted evolutionary forces may homogenize diversity.

RESULTS:

5S and 25S rDNA loci among Paphiopedilum species, representing all key phylogenetic lineages, exhibit a considerable diversity that correlates well with recognized evolutionary groups. 25S rDNA signals range from 2 (representing 1 locus) to 9, the latter representing hemizygosity. 5S loci display extensive structural variation, and show from 2 specific signals to many, both major and minor and highly dispersed. The dispersed signals mainly occur at centromeric and subtelomeric positions, which are hotspots for chromosomal breakpoints. Phylogenetic analysis of cloned 5S rDNA non-transcribed spacer (5S-NTS) sequences showed evidence for both ancient and recent post-speciation duplication events, as well as interlocus and intralocus diversity.

CONCLUSIONS:

Paphiopedilum species display many chromosomal rearrangements--for example, duplications, translocations, and inversions--but only weak concerted evolutionary forces among highly duplicated 5S arrays, which suggests that double-strand break repair processes are dynamic and ongoing. These results make the genus a model system for the study of complex chromosomal evolution in plants.

PMID:
21910890
PMCID:
PMC3184063
DOI:
10.1186/1471-2229-11-126
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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