Matita, a new retroelement from peanut: characterization and evolutionary context in the light of the Arachis A-B genome divergence

Mol Genet Genomics. 2012 Jan;287(1):21-38. doi: 10.1007/s00438-011-0656-6. Epub 2011 Nov 27.


Cultivated peanut is an allotetraploid with an AB-genome. In order to learn more of the genomic structure of peanut, we characterized and studied the evolution of a retrotransposon originally isolated from a resistance gene analog (RGA)-containing bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clone. It is a moderate copy number Ty1-copia retrotransposon from the Bianca lineage and we named it Matita. Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) experiments showed that Matita is mainly located on the distal regions of chromosome arms and is of approximately equal frequency on both A- and B-chromosomes. Its chromosome-specific hybridization pattern facilitates the identification of individual chromosomes, a useful cytogenetic tool considering that chromosomes in peanut are mostly metacentric and of similar size. Phylogenetic analysis of Matita elements, molecular dating of transposition events, and an estimation of the evolutionary divergence of the most probable A- and B-donor species suggest that Matita underwent its last major burst of transposition activity at around the same time of the A- and B-genome divergence about 3.5 million years ago. By probing BAC libraries with overgos probes for Matita, resistance gene analogues, and single- or low-copy genes, it was demonstrated that Matita is not randomly distributed in the genome but exhibits a significant tendency of being more abundant near resistance gene homologues than near single-copy genes. The described work is a further step towards broadening the knowledge on genomic and chromosomal structure of peanut and on its evolution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arachis / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Artificial, Bacterial / genetics
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Computational Biology
  • DNA Copy Number Variations / genetics
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genome, Plant / genetics*
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny*
  • Polyploidy*
  • Retroelements / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Species Specificity


  • DNA Primers
  • Retroelements