Comparative analysis of inverted repeats of polypod fern (Polypodiales) plastomes reveals two hypervariable regions

Maria D. Logacheva, Anastasiya A. Krinitsina, Maxim S. Belenikin, Kamil Khafizov, Evgenii A. Konorov, Sergey V. Kuptsov, Anna S. Speranskaya

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Ferns are large and underexplored group of vascular plants (~ 11 thousands species). The genomic data available by now include low coverage nuclear genomes sequences and partial sequences of mitochondrial genomes for six species and several plastid genomes. Results: We characterized plastid genomes of three species of Dryopteris, which is one of the largest fern genera, using sequencing of chloroplast DNA enriched samples and performed comparative analysis with available plastomes of Polypodiales, the most species-rich group of ferns. We also sequenced the plastome of Adianthum hispidulum (Pteridaceae). Unexpectedly, we found high variability in the IR region, including duplication of rrn16 in D. blanfordii, complete loss of trnI-GAU in D. filix-mas, its pseudogenization due to the loss of an exon in D. blanfordii. Analysis of previously reported plastomes of Polypodiales demonstrated that Woodwardia unigemmata and Lepisorus clathratus have unusual insertions in the IR region. The sequence of these inserted regions has high similarity to several LSC fragments of ferns outside of Polypodiales and to spacer between tRNA-CGA and tRNA-TTT genes of mitochondrial genome of Asplenium nidus. We suggest that this reflects the ancient DNA transfer from mitochondrial to plastid genome occurred in a common ancestor of ferns. We determined the marked conservation of gene content and relative evolution rate of genes and intergenic spacers in the IRs of Polypodiales. Faster evolution of the four intergenic regions had been demonstrated (trnA- orf42, rrn16-rps12, rps7-psbA and ycf2-trnN). Conclusions: IRs of Polypodiales plastomes are dynamic, driven by such events as gene loss, duplication and putative lateral transfer from mitochondria.

Original languageEnglish
Article number255
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


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