Plant genomes contain both protein-coding and noncoding sequences including transposable elements (TEs) and noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs). The ncRNAs are recognized as important elements that play fundamental roles in the structural organization and function of plant genomes. Despite various hypotheses, TEs are believed to be a major precursor of ncRNAs. Transposable elements are also prime factors that cause genomic variation among members of a species. Hence, TEs pose a major challenge in the discovery and analysis of ncRNAs. With the increase in the number of sequenced plant genomes, it is now accepted that a single reference genome is insufficient to represent the complete genomic diversity and contents of a species, and exploring the pan-genome of a species is critical. In this review, we summarize the recent progress in the field of plant pan-genomes. We also discuss TEs and their roles in ncRNA biogenesis and present our perspectives on the application of pan-genomes for the discovery of ncRNAs to fully explore and exploit their biological roles in plants.
© 2020 The Authors. The Plant Genome published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Crop Science Society of America.