Analysis of transposons and repeat composition of the sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) genome.Theor Appl Genet 2010; 120(3):491-508TA
A sample-sequencing strategy combined with slot-blot hybridization and FISH was used to study the composition of the repetitive component of the sunflower genome. One thousand six hundred thirty-eight sequences for a total of 954,517 bp were analyzed. The fraction of sequences that can be classified as repetitive using computational and hybridization approaches amounts to 62% in total. Almost two thirds remain as yet uncharacterized in nature. Of those characterized, most belong to the gypsy superfamily of LTR-retrotransposons. Unlike in other species, where single families can account for large fractions of the genome, it appears that no transposon family has been amplified to very high levels in sunflower. All other known classes of transposable elements were also found. One family of unknown nature (contig 61) was the most repeated in the sunflower genome. The evolution of the repetitive component in the Helianthus genus and in other Asteraceae was studied by comparative analysis of the hybridization of total genomic DNAs from these species to the sunflower small-insert library and compared to gene-based phylogeny. Very little similarity is observed between Helianthus species and two related Asteraceae species outside of the genus. Most repetitive elements are similar in annual and perennial Helianthus species indicating that sequence amplification largely predates such divergence. Gypsy-like elements are more represented in the annuals than in the perennials, while copia-like elements are similarly represented, attesting a different amplification history of the two superfamilies of LTR-retrotransposons in the Helianthus genus.