Retrotransposons are mobile DNA elements that spread through genomes via the action of element-encoded reverse transcriptases. They are ubiquitous constituents of most eukaryotic genomes, especially those of higher plants. The pericentromeric regions of soybean (Glycine max) chromosomes contain >3,200 intact copies of the Gmr9/GmOgre retrotransposon. Between the 3' end of the coding region and the long terminal repeat, this retrotransposon family contains a polymorphic minisatellite region composed of five distinct, interleaved minisatellite families. To better understand the possible role and origin of retrotransposon-associated minisatellites, a computational project to map and physically characterize all members of these families in the G. max genome, irrespective of their association with Gmr9, was undertaken.
A computational pipeline was developed to map and analyze the organization and distribution of five Gmr9-associated minisatellites throughout the soybean genome. Polymerase chain reaction amplifications were used to experimentally assess the computational outputs.
A total of 63,841 copies of Gmr9-associated minisatellites were recovered from the assembled G. max genome. Ninety percent were associated with Gmr9, an additional 9% with other annotated retrotransposons, and 1% with uncharacterized repetitive DNAs. Monomers were tandemly interleaved and repeated up to 149 times per locus.
The computational pipeline enabled a fast, accurate, and detailed characterization of known minisatellites in a large, downloaded DNA database, and PCR amplification supported the general organization of these arrays.
Mugil, LS, K Slowikowski, and HM Laten. "Computational and Experimental Analyses of Retrotransposon-Associated Minisatellite DNAs in the Soybean Genome." BMC Bioinformatics 13, 2012.
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© Mugil et al., 2012.