Molecular Genetics and Genomics

, Volume 291, Issue 2, pp 775–787 | Cite as

Molecular cytogenetic analysis and genomic organization of major DNA repeats in castor bean (Ricinus communis L.)

  • O. S. Alexandrov
  • G. I. Karlov
Original Article


This article addresses the bioinformatic, molecular genetic, and cytogenetic study of castor bean (Ricinus communis, 2n = 20), which belongs to the monotypic Ricinus genus within the Euphorbiaceae family. Because castor bean chromosomes are small, karyotypic studies are difficult. However, the use of DNA repeats has yielded new prospects for karyotypic research and genome characterization. In the present study, major DNA repeat sequences were identified, characterized and localized on mitotic metaphase and meiotic pachytene chromosomes. Analyses of the nucleotide composition, curvature models, and FISH localization of the rcsat39 repeat suggest that this repeat plays a key role in building heterochromatic arrays in castor bean. Additionally, the rcsat390 sequences were determined to be chromosome-specific repeats located in the pericentromeric region of mitotic chromosome A (pachytene chromosome 1). The localization of rcsat39, rcsat390, 45S and 5S rDNA genes allowed for the development of cytogenetic landmarks for chromosome identification. General questions linked to heterochromatin formation, DNA repeat distribution, and the evolutionary emergence of the genome are discussed. The article may be of interest to biologists studying small genome organization and short monomer DNA repeats.


Castor bean Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) Heterochromatin DNA repeats DNA curvature Chromosome landmarks Karyotype formation 



Fluorescence in situ hybridization




Chromomycin A3


Ribosomal DNA


Tandem Repeats Finder software


Polymerase chain reaction


Basic local alignment search tool


Saline-sodium citrate



We thank Dr. Mikhail Divashuk for help in sequencing, Dr. Mikhail Bazhenov for help in text correction and Tatyana Alexandrova for help with English editing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This article did not involve the study of human participants or animals.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOC 79 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (DOC 270 kb)
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Supplementary material 3 (DOC 246 kb)
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Supplementary material 4 (DOC 2518 kb)
438_2015_1145_MOESM5_ESM.doc (178 kb)
Supplementary material 5 (DOC 178 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Molecular BiotechnologyRussian State Agrarian University, Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural AcademyMoscowRussia

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