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  • Author or Editor: Lijia Li x
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Epimedium species are traditional Chinese medicinal plants as well as potential groundcover and ornamental plants. In this study, genome size and genome structures of Epimedium species were investigated using flow cytometric and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). The nuclear DNA content of Epimedium species ranged from 8.42 pg/2C (8230.7 Mbp) to 9.97 pg/2C (9752.8 Mbp). The pairwise nucleotide diversity (π) of the fragments of the genes for reverse transcriptase (rt) of Ty1-copia retrotransposon within a species of rt fragments ranged from 0.251 to 0.428 in 10 Epimedium species. Phylogenetic analysis of the sequences revealed four major clades with the largest subclade containing 72 sequences of relatively low nucleotide diversity. FISH indicated that Ty1-copia retrotransposons are distributed unevenly along the pachytene chromosomes of E. wushanense and E. sagittatum, mostly associated with the pericentromeric and terminal heterochromatin. The relatively low sequence heterogeneity of Ty1-copia rt sequences implies that the Epimedium genomes have experienced a few relatively large-scale proliferation events of copia elements, which could be one of the major forces resulting in the large genome size of Epimedium species.

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