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To be or not to be the odd one out - Allele-specific transcription in pentaploid dogroses (Rosa L. sect. Caninae (DC.) Ser)

Christiane M Ritz1*, Ines Köhnen2, Marco Groth3, Günter Theißen4 and Volker Wissemann5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Botany, Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Görlitz, Am Museum 1, D-02826 Görlitz, Germany

2 Ziegenhainer Straße 19, D-07749 Jena, Germany

3 Genome Analysis, Leibniz Institute for Age Research - Fritz Lipmann Institute, Beutenbergstraße 11, D-07745 Jena, Germany

4 Department of Genetics, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Philosophenweg 12, D-07743 Jena, Germany

5 Department of Systematic Botany, Institute of Botany, Justus Liebig University Gießen, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 38, D-35392 Gießen, Germany

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BMC Plant Biology 2011, 11:37  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-11-37

Published: 23 February 2011



Multiple hybridization events gave rise to pentaploid dogroses which can reproduce sexually despite their uneven ploidy level by the unique canina meiosis. Two homologous chromosome sets are involved in bivalent formation and are transmitted by the haploid pollen grains and the tetraploid egg cells. In addition the egg cells contain three sets of univalent chromosomes which are excluded from recombination. In this study we investigated whether differential behavior of chromosomes as bivalents or univalents is reflected by sequence divergence or transcription intensity between homeologous alleles of two single copy genes (LEAFY, cGAPDH) and one ribosomal DNA locus (nrITS).


We detected a maximum number of four different alleles of all investigated loci in pentaploid dogroses and identified the respective allele with two copies, which is presumably located on bivalent forming chromosomes. For the alleles of the ribosomal DNA locus and cGAPDH only slight, if any, differential transcription was determined, whereas the LEAFY alleles with one copy were found to be significantly stronger expressed than the LEAFY allele with two copies. Moreover, we found for the three marker genes that all alleles have been under similar regimes of purifying selection.


Analyses of both molecular sequence evolution and expression patterns did not support the hypothesis that unique alleles probably located on non-recombining chromosomes are less functional than duplicate alleles presumably located on recombining chromosomes.