PloS one

Insight into the karyotype evolution of brachypodium species using comparative chromosome barcoding.

PMID 24675822


Paleogenomic studies based on bioinformatic analyses of DNA sequences have enabled unprecedented insight into the evolution of grass genomes. They have revealed that nested chromosome fusions played an important role in the divergence of modern grasses. Nowadays, studies on karyotype evolution based on the sequence analysis can also be effectively complemented by the fine-scale cytomolecular approach. In this work, we studied the karyotype evolution of small genome grasses using BAC-FISH based comparative chromosome barcoding in four Brachypodium species: diploid B. distachyon (2n = 10) and B. sylvaticum (2n = 18), diploid (2n = 18) and allopolyploid (2n = 28) B. pinnatum as well as B. phoenicoides (2n = 28). Using BAC clones derived from the B. distachyon genomic libraries for the chromosomes Bd2 and Bd3, we identified the descending dysploidy events that were common for diploids with x = 9 and B. distachyon as well as two nested chromosome fusions that were specific only for B. distachyon. We suggest that dysploidy events that are shared by different lineages of the genus had already appeared in their common ancestor. We also show that additional structural rearrangements, such as translocations and duplications, contributed to increasing genome diversification in the species analysed. No chromosomes structured exactly like Bd2 and Bd3 were found in B. pinnatum (2n = 28) and B. phoenicoides. The structure of Bd2 and Bd3 homeologues belonging to the two genomes in the allopolyploids resembled the structure of their counterparts in the 2n = 18 diploids. These findings reinforce the hypothesis which excludes B. distachyon as a potential parent for Eurasian perennial Brachypodium allopolyploids. Our cytomolecular data elucidate some mechanisms of the descending dysploidy in monocots and enable reconstructions of the evolutionary events which shaped the extant karyotypes in both the genus Brachypodium and in grasses as a whole.