The role of chromosomal rearrangements in the evolution of Silene latifolia sex chromosomes
Silene latifolia is a model plant for studies of the early steps of sex chromosome evolution. In comparison to mammalian sex chromosomes that evolved 300 mya, sex chromosomes of S. latifolia appeared approximately 20 mya. Here, we combine results from physical mapping of sex-linked genes using polymerase chain reaction on microdissected arms of the S. latifolia X chromosome, and fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis of a new cytogenetic marker, Silene tandem repeat accumulated on the Y chromosome. The data are interpreted in the light of current genetic linkage maps of the X chromosome and a physical map of the Y chromosome. Our results identify the position of the centromere relative to the mapped genes on the X chromosome. We suggest that the evolution of the S. latifolia Y chromosome has been accompanied by at least one paracentric and one pericentric inversion. These results indicate that large chromosomal rearrangements have played an important role in Y chromosome evolution in S. latifolia and that chromosomal rearrangements are an integral part of sex chromosome evolution.