Molecular diversity of the 5S rRNA gene and genomic relationships in the genus Avena (Poaceae: Aveneae).

Original article


Peng YY, Wei YM, Baum BR, Zheng YL.

Triticeae Research Institute, Sichuan Agricultural University, Yaan 625014, Sichuan, People’s Republic of China.

Genome. 2008 Feb;51(2):137-154.


The molecular diversity of the rDNA sequences (5S rDNA units) in 71 accessions from 26 taxa of Avena was evaluated. The analyses, based on 553 sequenced clones, indicated that there were 6 unit classes, named according to the haplomes (genomes) they putatively represent, namely the long A1, long B1, long M1, short C1, short D1, and short M1 unit classes. The long and short M1 unit classes were found in the tetraploid A. macrostachya, the only perennial species. The long M1 unit class was closely related to the short C1 unit class, while the short M1 unit class was closely related to the long A1 and long B1 unit classes. However, the short D1 unit class was more divergent from the other unit classes. There was only one unit class per haplome in Avena, whereas haplomes in the Triticeae often have two. Most of the sequences captured belonged to the long A1 unit class. Sequences identified as the long B1 unit class were found in the tetraploids A. abyssinica and A. vaviloviana and the diploids A. atlantica and A. longiglumis. The short C1 unit class was found in the diploid species carrying the C genome, i.e., A. clauda, A. eriantha, and A. ventricosa, and also in the diploid A. longiglumis, the tetraploids A. insularis and A. maroccana, and all the hexaploid species. The short D1 unit class was found in all the hexaploid species and two clones of A. clauda. It is noteworthy that in previous studies the B genome was found only in tetraploid species and the D genome only in hexaploid species. Unexpectedly, we found that various diploid Avena species contained the B1 and D1 units. The long B1 unit class was found in 3 accessions of the diploid A. atlantica (CN25849, CN25864, and CN25887) collected in Morocco and in 2 accessions of A. longiglumis (CIav9087 and CIav9089) collected in Algeria and Libya, respectively, whereas only 1 clone of A. clauda (CN21378) had the short D1 unit. Thus there might be a clue as to where to search for diploids carrying the B and D genomes. Avena longiglumis was found to be the most diverse species, possibly harboring the A, B, and C haplomes. The long M1 and short M1 are the unit classes typical of A. macrostachya. These results could explain the roles of A. clauda, A. longiglumis, and A. atlantica in the evolution of the genus Avena. Furthermore, one clone of the tetraploid A. murphyi was found to have sequences belonging to the short D1 unit class, which could indicate that A. murphyi might have been the progenitor of hexaploid oats and not, as postulated earlier, A. insularis. The evolution of Avena did not follow the molecular clock. The path inferred is that the C genome is more ancient than the A and B genomes and closer to the genome of A. macrostachya, the only existing perennial, which is presumed to be the most ancestral species in the genus.

Keywords: Molecular diversity of the 5S rRNA gene and genomic relationships in the genus Avena (Poaceae: Aveneae).