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      Comparison of class 2 transposable elements at superfamily resolution reveals conserved and distinct features in cereal grass genomes

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          Abstract

          Background

          Class 2 transposable elements (TEs) are the predominant elements in and around plant genes where they generate significant allelic diversity. Using the complete sequences of four grasses, we have performed a novel comparative analysis of class 2 TEs. To ensure consistent comparative analyses, we re-annotated class 2 TEs in Brachypodium distachyon, Oryza sativa (rice), Sorghum bicolor and Zea mays and assigned them to one of the five cut-and-paste superfamilies found in plant genomes ( Tc1/mariner, PIF/Harbinger, hAT, Mutator, CACTA). We have focused on noncoding elements because of their abundance, and compared superfamily copy number, size and genomic distribution as well as correlation with the level of nearby gene expression.

          Results

          Our comparison revealed both unique and conserved features. First, the average length or size distribution of elements in each superfamily is largely conserved, with the shortest always being Tc1/mariner elements, followed by PIF/Harbinger, hAT, Mutator and CACTA. This order also holds for the ratio of the copy numbers of noncoding to coding elements. Second, with the exception of CACTAs, noncoding TEs are enriched within and flanking genes, where they display conserved distribution patterns, having the highest peak in the promoter region. Finally, our analysis of microarray data revealed that genes associated with Tc1/mariner and PIF/Harbinger noncoding elements have significantly higher expression levels than genes without class 2 TEs. In contrast, genes with CACTA elements have significantly lower expression than genes without class 2 TEs.

          Conclusions

          We have achieved the most comprehensive annotation of class 2 TEs to date in these four grass genomes. Comparative analysis of this robust dataset led to the identification of several previously unknown features of each superfamily related to copy number, element size, genomic distribution and correlation with the expression levels of nearby genes. These results highlight the importance of distinguishing TE superfamilies when assessing their impact on gene and genome evolution.

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          Most cited references 33

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          Fast and accurate long-read alignment with Burrows–Wheeler transform

          Motivation: Many programs for aligning short sequencing reads to a reference genome have been developed in the last 2 years. Most of them are very efficient for short reads but inefficient or not applicable for reads >200 bp because the algorithms are heavily and specifically tuned for short queries with low sequencing error rate. However, some sequencing platforms already produce longer reads and others are expected to become available soon. For longer reads, hashing-based software such as BLAT and SSAHA2 remain the only choices. Nonetheless, these methods are substantially slower than short-read aligners in terms of aligned bases per unit time. Results: We designed and implemented a new algorithm, Burrows-Wheeler Aligner's Smith-Waterman Alignment (BWA-SW), to align long sequences up to 1 Mb against a large sequence database (e.g. the human genome) with a few gigabytes of memory. The algorithm is as accurate as SSAHA2, more accurate than BLAT, and is several to tens of times faster than both. Availability: http://bio-bwa.sourceforge.net Contact: rd@sanger.ac.uk
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            Repbase Update, a database of eukaryotic repetitive elements.

            Repbase Update is a comprehensive database of repetitive elements from diverse eukaryotic organisms. Currently, it contains over 3600 annotated sequences representing different families and subfamilies of repeats, many of which are unreported anywhere else. Each sequence is accompanied by a short description and references to the original contributors. Repbase Update includes Repbase Reports, an electronic journal publishing newly discovered transposable elements, and the Transposon Pub, a web-based browser of selected chromosomal maps of transposable elements. Sequences from Repbase Update are used to screen and annotate repetitive elements using programs such as Censor and RepeatMasker. Repbase Update is available on the worldwide web at http://www.girinst.org/Repbase_Update.html.
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              The B73 maize genome: complexity, diversity, and dynamics.

              We report an improved draft nucleotide sequence of the 2.3-gigabase genome of maize, an important crop plant and model for biological research. Over 32,000 genes were predicted, of which 99.8% were placed on reference chromosomes. Nearly 85% of the genome is composed of hundreds of families of transposable elements, dispersed nonuniformly across the genome. These were responsible for the capture and amplification of numerous gene fragments and affect the composition, sizes, and positions of centromeres. We also report on the correlation of methylation-poor regions with Mu transposon insertions and recombination, and copy number variants with insertions and/or deletions, as well as how uneven gene losses between duplicated regions were involved in returning an ancient allotetraploid to a genetically diploid state. These analyses inform and set the stage for further investigations to improve our understanding of the domestication and agricultural improvements of maize.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                BMC Genomics
                BMC Genomics
                BMC Genomics
                BioMed Central
                1471-2164
                2013
                31 January 2013
                : 14
                : 71
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Plant Biology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
                [2 ]Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA
                Article
                1471-2164-14-71
                10.1186/1471-2164-14-71
                3579700
                23369001
                Copyright ©2013 Han et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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                Research Article

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