Talla V, Suh A, Kalsoom F, Dinca V, Vila R, Friberg M, Wiklund C, Backström N
Genome Biol Evol 9 (10) 2491-2505 [2017-10-01; online 2017-10-06]
Characterizing and quantifying genome size variation among organisms and understanding if genome size evolves as a consequence of adaptive or stochastic processes have been long-standing goals in evolutionary biology. Here, we investigate genome size variation and association with transposable elements (TEs) across lepidopteran lineages using a novel genome assembly of the common wood-white (Leptidea sinapis) and population re-sequencing data from both L. sinapis and the closely related L. reali and L. juvernica together with 12 previously available lepidopteran genome assemblies. A phylogenetic analysis confirms established relationships among species, but identifies previously unknown intraspecific structure within Leptidea lineages. The genome assembly of L. sinapis is one of the largest of any lepidopteran taxon so far (643 Mb) and genome size is correlated with abundance of TEs, both in Lepidoptera in general and within Leptidea where L. juvernica from Kazakhstan has considerably larger genome size than any other Leptidea population. Specific TE subclasses have been active in different Lepidoptera lineages with a pronounced expansion of predominantly LINEs, DNA elements, and unclassified TEs in the Leptidea lineage after the split from other Pieridae. The rate of genome expansion in Leptidea in general has been in the range of four Mb/Million year (My), with an increase in a particular L. juvernica population to 72 Mb/My. The considerable differences in accumulation rates of specific TE classes in different lineages indicate that TE activity plays a major role in genome size evolution in butterflies and moths.
BioProject: PRJEB21838 Rapid increase in genome size as a consequence of transposable element hyperactivity in wood-white (Leptidea) butterflies.
GENBANK: FZQP00000000 Leptidea sinapis, whole genome shotgun sequencing project