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Elife. 2017 Jul 11;6. pii: e25762. doi: 10.7554/eLife.25762.

Pervasive epigenetic effects of Drosophila euchromatic transposable elements impact their evolution.

Author information

1
Division of Biological Systems and Engineering, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, United States.
2
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, United States.

Abstract

Transposable elements (TEs) are widespread genomic parasites, and their evolution has remained a critical question in evolutionary genomics. Here, we study the relatively unexplored epigenetic impacts of TEs and provide the first genome-wide quantification of such effects in D. melanogaster and D. simulans. Surprisingly, the spread of repressive epigenetic marks (histone H3K9me2) to nearby DNA occurs at >50% of euchromatic TEs, and can extend up to 20 kb. This results in differential epigenetic states of genic alleles and, in turn, selection against TEs. Interestingly, the lower TE content in D. simulans compared to D. melanogaster correlates with stronger epigenetic effects of TEs and higher levels of host genetic factors known to promote epigenetic silencing. Our study demonstrates that the epigenetic effects of euchromatic TEs, and host genetic factors modulating such effects, play a critical role in the evolution of TEs both within and between species.

KEYWORDS:

D. melanogaster; Epigenetics; Population genetics; Transposable elements; evolutionary biology; genomics

PMID:
28695823
PMCID:
PMC5505702
DOI:
10.7554/eLife.25762
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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