, Volume 135, Issue 1, pp 87-93
Date: 29 Mar 2008

Molecular cytogenetic characterization of Rumex papillaris, a dioecious plant with an XX/XY1Y2 sex chromosome system

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Abstract

Rumex papillaris Boiss, & Reut., an Iberian endemic, belongs to the section Acetosa of the genus Rumex whose main representative is R. acetosa L., a species intensively studied in relation to sex-chromosome evolution. Here, we characterize cytogenetically the chromosomal complement of R. papillaris in an effort to enhance future comparative genomic approaches and to better our understanding of sex chromosome structure in plants. Rumex papillaris, as is common in this group, is a dioecious species characterized by the presence of a multiple sex chromosome system (with females 2n = 12 + XX and males 2n = 12 + XY1Y2). Except for the X chromosome both Y chromosomes are the longest in the karyotype and appear heterochromatic due to the accumulation of at least two satellite DNA families, RAE180 and RAYSI. Each chromosome of pair VI has an additional major heterochromatin block at the distal region of the short arm. These supernumerary heterochromatic blocks are occupied by RAE730 satellite DNA family. The Y-related RAE180 family is also present in an additional minor autosomal locus. Our comparative study of the chromosomal organization of the different satellite-DNA sequences in XX/XY and XX/XY1Y2 Rumex species demonstrates that of active mechanisms of heterochromatin amplification occurred and were accompanied by chromosomal rearrangements giving rise to the multiple XX/XY1Y2 chromosome systems observed in Rumex. Additionally, Y1 and Y2 chromosomes have undergone further rearrangements leading to differential patterns of Y-heterochromatin distribution between Rumex species with multiple sex chromosome systems.