Heterogeneous rates of genome rearrangement contributed to the disparity of species richness in Ascomycota
Abstract Background Chromosomal rearrangements have been shown to facilitate speciation through creating a barrier of gene flow. However, it is not known whether heterogeneous rates of chromosomal rearrangement at the genome scale contributed to the huge disparity of species richness among different groups of organisms, which is one of the most remarkable and pervasive patterns on Earth. The largest fungal phylum Ascomycota is an ideal study system to address this question because it comprises three subphyla (Saccharomycotina, Taphrinomycotina, and Pezizomycotina) whose species numbers differ by two orders of magnitude (59,000, 1000, and 150 respectively). Results We quantified rates of genome rearrangement for 71 Ascomycota species that have well-assembled genomes. The rates of inter-species genome rearrangement, which were inferred based on the divergence rates of gene order, are positively correlated with species richness at both ranks of subphylum and class in Ascomycota. This finding is further supported by our quantification of intra-species rearrangement rates based on paired-end genome sequencing data of 216 strains from three representative species, suggesting a difference of intrinsic genome instability among Ascomycota lineages. Our data also show that different rates of imbalanced rearrangements, such as deletions, are a major contributor to the heterogenous rearrangement rates. Conclusions Various lines of evidence in this study support that a higher rate of rearrangement at the genome scale might have accelerated the speciation process and increased species richness during the evolution of Ascomycota species. Our findings provide a plausible explanation for the species disparity among Ascomycota lineages, which will be valuable to unravel the underlying causes for the huge disparity of species richness in various taxonomic groups.
Citable link to this pagehttps://hdl.handle.net/1911/103424
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