Conservation of the microstructure of genome segments in Brassica napus and its diploid relatives

Plant J. 2004 Dec;40(5):725-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2004.02244.x.


The cultivated Brassica species are the group of crops most closely related to Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis). They represent models for the application in crops of genomic information gained in Arabidopsis and provide an opportunity for the investigation of polyploid genome formation and evolution. The scientific literature contains contradictory evidence for the dynamics of the evolution of polyploid genomes. We aimed at overcoming the inherent complexity of Brassica genomes and clarify the effects of polyploidy on the evolution of genome microstructure in specific segments of the genome. To do this, we have constructed bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries from genomic DNA of B. rapa subspecies trilocularis (JBr) and B. napus var Tapidor (JBnB) to supplement an existing BAC library from B. oleracea. These allowed us to analyse both recent polyploidization (under 10,000 years in B. napus) and more ancient polyploidization events (ca. 20 Myr for B. rapa and B. oleracea relative to Arabidopsis), with an analysis of the events occurring on an intermediate time scale (over the ca. 4 Myr since the divergence of the B. rapa and B. oleracea lineages). Using the Arabidopsis genome sequence and clones from the JBr library, we have analysed aspects of gene conservation and microsynteny between six regions of the genome of B. rapa with the homoeologous regions of the genomes of B. oleracea and Arabidopsis. Extensive divergence of gene content was observed between the B. rapa paralogous segments and their homoeologous segments within the genome of Arabidopsis. A pattern of interspersed gene loss was identified that is similar, but not identical, to that observed in B. oleracea. The conserved genes show highly conserved collinearity with their orthologues across genomes, but a small number of species-specific rearrangements were identified. Thus the evolution of genome microstructure is an ongoing process. Brassica napus is a recently formed polyploid resulting from the hybridization of B. rapa (containing the Brassica A genome) and B. oleracea (containing the Brassica C genome). Using clones from the JBnB library, we have analysed the microstructure of the corresponding segments of the B. napus genome. The results show that there has been little or no change to the microstructure of the analysed segments of the Brassica A and C genomes as a consequence of the hybridization event forming natural B. napus. The observations indicate that, upon polyploid formation, these segments of the genome did not undergo a burst of evolution discernible at the scale of microstructure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brassica / genetics*
  • Brassica napus / genetics
  • Conserved Sequence / genetics*
  • Contig Mapping
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Library
  • Genome, Plant
  • Phylogeny
  • Polyploidy
  • Species Specificity