Genomic Diversity in Two Related Plant Species with and without Sex Chromosomes - Silene latifolia and S. vulgaris
Background: Genome size evolution is a complex process influenced by polyploidization, satellite DNA accumulation, and expansion of retroelements. How this process could be affected by different reproductive strategies is still poorly understood. Methodology/Principal Findings: We analyzed differences in the number and distribution of major repetitive DNA elements in two closely related species, Silene latifolia and S. vulgaris. Both species are diploid and possess the same chromosome number (2n = 24), but differ in their genome size and mode of reproduction. The dioecious S. latifolia (1C = 2.70 pg DNA) possesses sex chromosomes and its genome is 2.5 x larger than that of the gynodioecious S. vulgaris (1C = 1.13 pg DNA), which does not possess sex chromosomes. We discovered that the genome of S. latifolia is larger mainly due to the expansion of Ogre retrotransposons. Surprisingly, the centromeric STAR-C and TR1 tandem repeats were found to be more abundant in S. vulgaris, the species with the smaller genome. We further examined the distribution of major repetitive sequences in related species in the Caryophyllaceae family. The results of FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization) on mitotic chromosomes with the Retand element indicate that large rearrangements occurred during the evolution of the Caryophyllaceae family. Conclusions/Significance: Our data demonstrate that the evolution of genome size in the genus Silene is accompanied by the expansion of different repetitive elements with specific patterns in the dioecious species possessing the sex chromosomes.