Raúl Castanera, Noemia Morales-Díaz, Sonal Gupta, Michael Purugganan, Josep M Casacuberta

Transposons are important contributors to gene expression variability under selection in rice populations

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine
  • General Neuroscience

Transposable elements (TEs) are an important source of genome variability. Here, we analyze their contribution to gene expression variability in rice by performing a TE insertion polymorphism expression quantitative trait locus mapping using expression data from 208 varieties from the Oryza sativa ssp. indica and O. sativa ssp. japonica subspecies. Our data show that TE insertions are associated with changes of expression of many genes known to be targets of rice domestication and breeding. An important fraction of these insertions were already present in the rice wild ancestors, and have been differentially selected in indica and japonica rice populations. Taken together, our results show that small changes of expression in signal transduction genes induced by TE insertions accompany the domestication and adaptation of rice populations.

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