Pseudogenes contribute to the extreme diversity of nuclear ribosomal DNA in the hard coral Acropora

Marquez, Luis M., Miller, David J., Mackenzie, Jason B., and van Oppen, Madeleine J.H. (2003) Pseudogenes contribute to the extreme diversity of nuclear ribosomal DNA in the hard coral Acropora. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 20 (7). pp. 1077-1086.

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One characteristic of Indo-Pacific Acropora spp. is extremely high diversity in rDNA sequences at both the species and individual levels. In order to test the hypothesis that pseudogenes may contribute to this diversity, three kinds of analyses were conducted. First, for A. millepora (the species containing the most diverse suite of rDNA types), RT-PCR was used to determine which 5.8S rDNA types are expressed. Second, as previous studies have indicated that interspecific hybridization has occurred in the genus Acropora and silencing of rDNA loci via nucleolar dominance has been shown in some cases to involve methylation, patterns of variation were examined at methylation-susceptible sites. Third, patterns of substitution at conserved sites (including those that are likely to contribute to secondary structure in rRNA) in the 5.8S rDNA were examined. These analyses consistently indicated that one rDNA sequence type present in a broad range of Indo-Pacific Acropora species is likely to consist predominantly of pseudogenes. Patterns of variation also suggest that species may differ with respect to which rDNA sequence types have been silenced and which are active. These pseudogenes are likely to have arisen as a consequence of the introduction of highly divergent rDNA types into single genomes by interspecific hybridization events, and we attribute the extreme rDNA diversity characteristic of many Acropora species to both the independent evolution of these silenced rDNA types and to the suppressive effects of high sequence diversity on homogenization processes acting on functional loci.

Item ID: 6904
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1537-1719
Keywords: academic achievement; evolution; ITS-1; pseudogenes; ribosomal RNA
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2010 22:43
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060409 Molecular Evolution @ 100%
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