Interspecies association mapping links reduced CG to TG substitution rates to the loss of gene-body methylation

Nat Plants. 2019 Aug;5(8):846-855. doi: 10.1038/s41477-019-0486-9. Epub 2019 Jul 29.


Comparative genomics can unravel the genetic basis of species differences; however, successful reports on quantitative traits are still scarce. Here we present genome assemblies of 31 so-far unassembled Brassicaceae plant species and combine them with 16 previously published assemblies to establish the Brassicaceae Diversity Panel. Using a new interspecies association strategy for quantitative traits, we found a so-far unknown association between the unexpectedly high variation in CG to TG substitution rates in genes and the absence of CHROMOMETHYLASE3 (CMT3) orthologues. Low substitution rates were associated with the loss of CMT3, while species with conserved CMT3 orthologues showed high substitution rates. Species without CMT3 also lacked gene-body methylation (gbM), suggesting an evolutionary trade-off between the unknown function of gbM and low substitution rates in Brassicaceae, possibly due to low mutability of non-methylated cytosines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brassicaceae / classification
  • Brassicaceae / genetics*
  • Brassicaceae / metabolism
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Cytosine
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genome, Plant*
  • Genomics
  • Guanine
  • Methylation
  • Nucleotides / genetics*
  • Phylogeny
  • Quantitative Trait Loci
  • Thymine


  • Nucleotides
  • Guanine
  • Cytosine
  • Thymine