A Concertedly Evolving Region in Chironomus, Unique Within the Telomere
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Chromosome terminal, complex repeats in the dipteran Chironomus pallidivittatus show rapid concerted evolution during which there is remarkably efficient homogenization of the repeat units within and between chromosome ends. It has been shown previously that gene conversion is likely to be an important component during these changes. The sequence evolution could be a result of different processes—exchanges between repeats in the tandem array as well as information transfer between units in different chromosomes—and is therefore difficult to analyze in detail. In this study the concerted evolution of a region present only once per chromosome, at the junction between the telomeric complex repeats and the subtelomeric DNA was therefore investigated in the two sibling species C. pallidivittatus and C. tentans. Material from individual microdissected chromosome ends was used, as well as clones from bulk genomic DNA. On the telomeric side of the border pronounced species-specific sequence differences were observed, the patterns being similar for clones of different origin within each species. Mutations had been transmitted efficiently between chromosomes also when adjoining, more distally localized DNA showed great differences in sequence, suggesting that gene conversion had taken place. The evolving telomeric region bordered proximally to subtelomeric DNA with high evolutionary constancy. More proximally localized, subtelomeric DNA evolved more rapidly and showed heterogeneity between species and chromosomes.
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