Expansion of the IR in the chloroplast genomes of buckwheat species is due to incorporation of an SSC sequence that could be mediated by an inversion
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The chloroplast genomes in buckwheat species contain large inverted repeats which are at least 4 kbp longer than the majority of those in land plants. The length of the buckwheat inverted repeats was attributable to an additional region located adjacent to the borders of the small single-copy region. We have cloned and sequenced a 5.2-kbp SmaI fragment corresponding to this extra region in the inverted repeats. A homology search revealed that the sequence of the SmaI fragment is highly homologous to one side of the small single-copy region of the inverted repeats in dicot chloroplast DNAs such as tobacco and beechdrops. Interestingly, a 3.7-kbp segment in the middle of the SmaI fragment is inserted in the opposite orientation relative to those of the other dicot species, and 17-bp direct repeats are found located at both the ends of the additional region. These results suggest that expansion of the inverted repeats in buckwheat chloroplast DNA might have been associated with an inversion.
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