High-density linkage maps and chromosome level genome assemblies unveil direction and frequency of extensive structural rearrangements in wood white butterflies (Leptidea spp.).

Höök L, Näsvall K, Vila R, Wiklund C, Backström N

Chromosome Res. 31 (1) 2 [2023-01-20; online 2023-01-20]

Karyotypes are generally conserved between closely related species and large chromosome rearrangements typically have negative fitness consequences in heterozygotes, potentially driving speciation. In the order Lepidoptera, most investigated species have the ancestral karyotype and gene synteny is often conserved across deep divergence, although examples of extensive genome reshuffling have recently been demonstrated. The genus Leptidea has an unusual level of chromosome variation and rearranged sex chromosomes, but the extent of restructuring across the rest of the genome is so far unknown. To explore the genomes of the wood white (Leptidea) species complex, we generated eight genome assemblies using a combination of 10X linked reads and HiC data, and improved them using linkage maps for two populations of the common wood white (L. sinapis) with distinct karyotypes. Synteny analysis revealed an extensive amount of rearrangements, both compared to the ancestral karyotype and between the Leptidea species, where only one of the three Z chromosomes was conserved across all comparisons. Most restructuring was explained by fissions and fusions, while translocations appear relatively rare. We further detected several examples of segregating rearrangement polymorphisms supporting a highly dynamic genome evolution in this clade. Fusion breakpoints were enriched for LINEs and LTR elements, which suggests that ectopic recombination might be an important driver in the formation of new chromosomes. Our results show that chromosome count alone may conceal the extent of genome restructuring and we propose that the amount of genome evolution in Lepidoptera might still be underestimated due to lack of taxonomic sampling.

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NGI Stockholm (Genomics Production) [Service]

National Genomics Infrastructure [Service]

PubMed 36662301

DOI 10.1007/s10577-023-09713-z

Crossref 10.1007/s10577-023-09713-z

pmc: PMC9859909
pii: 10.1007/s10577-023-09713-z

Publications 8.1.1