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Open Access Research article

Genomic composition and evolution of Aedes aegypti chromosomes revealed by the analysis of physically mapped supercontigs

Vladimir A Timoshevskiy1, Nicholas A Kinney2, Becky S deBruyn3, Chunhong Mao4, Zhijian Tu5, David W Severson3, Igor V Sharakhov1 and Maria V Sharakhova1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Entomology, Fralin Life Science Institute, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA

2 Department of Genomics, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA

3 Department of Biological Sciences, Eck Institute for Global Health, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, USA

4 Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA

5 Department of Biochemistry and Fralin Life Science Institute, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA

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BMC Biology 2014, 12:27  doi:10.1186/1741-7007-12-27

Published: 14 April 2014

Abstract

Background

An initial comparative genomic study of the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae and the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti revealed striking differences in the genome assembly size and in the abundance of transposable elements between the two species. However, the chromosome arms homology between An. gambiae and Ae. aegypti, as well as the distribution of genes and repetitive elements in chromosomes of Ae. aegypti, remained largely unexplored because of the lack of a detailed physical genome map for the yellow fever mosquito.

Results

Using a molecular landmark-guided fluorescent in situ hybridization approach, we mapped 624 Mb of the Ae. aegypti genome to mitotic chromosomes. We used this map to analyze the distribution of genes, tandem repeats and transposable elements along the chromosomes and to explore the patterns of chromosome homology and rearrangements between Ae. aegypti and An. gambiae. The study demonstrated that the q arm of the sex-determining chromosome 1 had the lowest gene content and the highest density of minisatellites. A comparative genomic analysis with An. gambiae determined that the previously proposed whole-arm synteny is not fully preserved; a number of pericentric inversions have occurred between the two species. The sex-determining chromosome 1 had a higher rate of genome rearrangements than observed in autosomes 2 and 3 of Ae. aegypti.

Conclusions

The study developed a physical map of 45% of the Ae. aegypti genome and provided new insights into genomic composition and evolution of Ae. aegypti chromosomes. Our data suggest that minisatellites rather than transposable elements played a major role in rapid evolution of chromosome 1 in the Aedes lineage. The research tools and information generated by this study contribute to a more complete understanding of the genome organization and evolution in mosquitoes.

Keywords:
Physical mapping; Mosquito; Genome; Chromosome