Accumulation of Y-specific satellite DNAs during the evolution of Rumex acetosa sex chromosomes
The study of the molecular structure of young heteromorphic sex chromosomes of plants has shed light on the evolutionary forces that control the differentiation of the X and Y during the earlier stages of their evolution. We have used the model plant Rumex acetosa, a dioecious species with multiple sex chromosomes, 2n = 12 + XX female and 2n = 12 + XY1Y2 male, to analyse the significance of repetitive DNA accumulation during the differentiation of the Y. A bulk segregant analysis (BSA) approach allowed us to identify and isolate random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers linked to the sex chromosomes. From a total of 86 RAPD markers in the parents, 6 markers were found to be linked to the Ys and 1 to the X. Two of the Y-linked markers represent two AT-rich satellite DNAs (satDNAs), named RAYSII and RAYSIII, that share about 80% homology, as well as with RAYSI, another satDNA of R. acetosa. Fluorescent in situ hybridisation demonstrated that RAYSII is specific for Y-1, whilst RAYSIII is located in different clusters along Y-1 and Y-2. The two satDNAs were only detected in the genome of the dioecious species with XX/XY1Y2 multiple sex chromosome systems in the subgenus Acetosa, but were absent from other dioecious species with an XX/XY system of the subgenera Acetosa or Acetosella, as well as in gynodioecious or hermaphrodite species of the subgenera Acetosa, Rumex and Platypodium. Phylogenetic analysis with different cloned monomers of RAYSII and RAYSIII from both R. acetosa and R. papillaris indicate that these two satDNAs are completely separated from each other, and from RAYSI, in both species. The three Y-specific satDNAs, however, evolved from an ancestral satDNA with repeating units of 120 bp, through intermediate satDNAs of 360 bp. The data therefore support the idea that Y-chromosome differentiation and heterochromatinisation in the Rumex species having a multiple sex chromosome system have occurred by different amplification events from a common ancestral satDNA. Since dioecious species with multiple XX/XY1Y2 sex chromosome systems of the section Acetosa appear to have evolved from dioecious species with an XX/XY system, the amplification of tandemly repetitive elements in the Ys of the section Acetosa is a recent evolutionary process that has contributed to an increase in the size and differentiation of the already non-recombining Y chromosomes.