Abstract Detail

Comparative Genomics/Transcriptomics

Deb, Sontosh [1], Lewis, Michelle [1], Jones, Sydney [1], Risman, Daniel [1], McKain, Michael [2].

Variation of transposable elements across Steinchisma hians (Poaceae) populations in the Southeastern USA.

Transposable elements (TEs) are abundant, mobile genetic elements often regarded as a potential source of genome evolution. Retrotransposons, a class of TEs, can create new copies of themselves and insert into new positions of the genome. The property of copy-cut-paste within the host genome is thought to enable them to occupy variable amounts of eukaryotic genomes across different lineages. Various studies have attributed TEs to rapid phenotypic variation within a species, however, they are also considered deleterious in many cases due to their propensity of causing disruptive mutations. There are several types of TE families, and they are found to be very dynamic even among individuals from the same population. Steinchisma hians is a native to the Southeastern United States and widely distributed from the US to Argentina. S. hians is characterized as a C3-C4 intermediate, where the species exhibits characteristics in anatomy and physiology that are between these two photosynthetic syndromes. The analysis of population genomic data has the potential to unlock our understanding of how species move from C3 to C4 photosynthesis. Here, we aim to explore the dynamics of certain TE families among individuals across S. hians populations in the Southeastern US. We combined 17 herbarium specimens with 31 wild-collected individuals from eight populations and characterized their TEs composition. We also sequenced whole chloroplast genomes for each of these individuals to determine the relationships of these populations and provide a phylogenetic framework to look at trends in TE abundance and composition. We discuss the clade-specific variation in the TE families and their relationship to environmental variation. We also analyzed the temporal variation in TE composition by comparing the wild-collected individuals to the herbarium samples. This study will help us to understand the dynamics of TE families at the population level in a wild species, and how patterns may shift in response to environmental variables over time.

1 - The University of Alabama, Department of Biological Sciences, 1325 Science and Engineering Complex (SEC), 300 Hackberry Lane, Tuscaloosa, AL, 35487, United States
2 - University Of Alabama, 411 Mary Harmon Bryant Hall, Tuscaloosa, AL, 35487, United States

transposable elements
population genomics
herbarium specimens
chloroplast phylogenomics.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: CG3, Functional & Comparative Genetics/Genomics III
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Friday, July 31st, 2020
Time: 4:45 PM
Number: CG3008
Abstract ID:533
Candidate for Awards:Margaret Menzel Award

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