Homoeologous evolution of the allotetraploid genome of Poa annua L.

Christopher W. Benson, Matthew R. Sheltra, Peter J. Maughan, Eric N. Jellen, Matthew D. Robbins, B. Shaun Bushman, Eric L. Patterson, Nathan D. Hall, David R. Huff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Poa annua (annual bluegrass) is an allotetraploid turfgrass, an agronomically significant weed, and one of the most widely dispersed plant species on earth. Here, we report the chromosome-scale genome assemblies of P. annua’s diploid progenitors, P. infirma and P. supina, and use multi-omic analyses spanning all three species to better understand P. annua’s evolutionary novelty. Results: We find that the diploids diverged from their common ancestor 5.5 – 6.3 million years ago and hybridized to form P. annua ≤ 50,000 years ago. The diploid genomes are similar in chromosome structure and most notably distinguished by the divergent evolutionary histories of their transposable elements, leading to a 1.7 × difference in genome size. In allotetraploid P. annua, we find biased movement of retrotransposons from the larger (A) subgenome to the smaller (B) subgenome. We show that P. annua’s B subgenome is preferentially accumulating genes and that its genes are more highly expressed. Whole-genome resequencing of several additional P. annua accessions revealed large-scale chromosomal rearrangements characterized by extensive TE-downsizing and evidence to support the Genome Balance Hypothesis. Conclusions: The divergent evolutions of the diploid progenitors played a central role in conferring onto P. annua its remarkable phenotypic plasticity. We find that plant genes (guided by selection and drift) and transposable elements (mostly guided by host immunity) each respond to polyploidy in unique ways and that P. annua uses whole-genome duplication to purge highly parasitized heterochromatic sequences. The findings and genomic resources presented here will enable the development of homoeolog-specific markers for accelerated weed science and turfgrass breeding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number350
JournalBMC genomics
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics

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