Identification and genomic distribution of gypsy like retrotransposons in Citrus and Poncirus
Transposable elements might be importantly involved in citrus genetic instability and genome evolution. The presence of gypsy like retrotransposons, their heterogeneity and genomic distribution in Citrus and Poncirus, have been investigated. Eight clones containing part of the POL coding region of gypsy like retrotransposons have been isolated from a commercial variety of Citrus clementina, one of the few sexual species in Citrus. Four of the eight clones might correspond to active elements given that they present all the conserved motifs described in the literature as essential for activity, no in-frame stop codon and no frame-shift mutation. High homology has been found between some of these citrus elements and retroelements within a resistance-gene cluster from potato, another from Poncirus trifoliata and two putative resistance polyproteins from rice. Nested copies of gypsy like elements are scattered along the Citrus and Poncirus genomes. The results on genomic distribution show that these elements were introduced before the divergence of both genera and evolved separately thereafter. IRAPs based on gypsy and copia types of retrotransposons seem to distribute differently, therefore gypsy based IRAPs prove a new, complementary set of molecular markers in Citrus to study and map genetic variability, especially for disease resistance. Similarly to copia-derived IRAPs, the number of copies and heterozygosity values found for gypsy derived IRAPs are lower in Poncirus than in Citrus aurantium, which is less apomictic and the most usual rootstock for clementines until 1970.
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