Megabase level sequencing reveals contrasted organization and evolution patterns of the wheat gene and transposable element spaces

Frédéric Choulet, Thomas Wicker, Camille Rustenholz, Etienne Paux, Jérome Salse, Philippe Leroy, Stéphane Schlub, Marie Christine le Paslier, Ghislaine Magdelenat, Catherine Gonthier, Arnaud Couloux, Hikmet Budak, James Breen, Michael Pumphrey, Sixin Liu, Xiuying Kong, Jizeng Jia, Marta Gut, Dominique Brunel, James A. AndersonBikram S. Gill, Rudi Appels, Beat Keller, Catherine Feuillet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

209 Citations (Scopus)


To improve our understanding of the organization and evolution of the wheat (Triticum aestivum) genome, we sequenced and annotated 13-Mb contigs (18.2 Mb) originating from different regions of its largest chromosome, 3B (1 Gb), and produced a 2x chromosome survey by shotgun Illumina/Solexa sequencing. All regions carried genes irrespective of their chromosomal location. However, gene distribution was not random, with 75% of them clustered into small islands containing three genes on average. A twofold increase of gene density was observed toward the telomeres likely due to high tandem and interchromosomal duplication events. A total of 3222 transposable elements were identified, including 800 new families. Most of them are complete but showed a highly nested structure spread over distances as large as 200 kb. A succession of amplification waves involving different transposable element families led to contrasted sequence compositions between the proximal and distal regions. Finally, with an estimate of 50,000 genes per diploid genome, our data suggest that wheat may have a higher gene number than other cereals. Indeed, comparisons with rice (Oryza sativa) and Brachypodium revealed that a high number of additional noncollinear genes are interspersed within a highly conserved ancestral grass gene backbone, supporting the idea of an accelerated evolution in the Triticeae lineages

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1686-1701
Number of pages16
JournalPlant Cell
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology

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