Interactions among genomic structure, function, and evolution revealed by comprehensive analysis of the Arabidopsis thaliana genome. Academic Article uri icon


  • The genome in a higher organism consists of a number of types of nucleotide sequence-specialized components, with each having tens of thousands of members or elements. It is crucial for our understanding of how a genome as an entity is organized, functions, and evolves to determine how these components are organized in the genome and how they relate with each other; however, no such knowledge is available. Here, we report a comprehensive analysis of the organization and interaction of all 40 components constituting the genome of the plant model species, Arabidopsis thaliana, at the whole-genome and chromosome levels. The 40 components include (i) 6 genome structural components consisting of GC%, genes, retrotransposons, DNA transposons, simple repeats, and low complex repeats; (ii) 3 evolutionarily critical features consisting of recombination rate, nucleotide substitutions, and nucleotide insertions/deletions; and (iii) 31 categories of genes with different functions and numbers of functions. We show that the distributions of 39 of the 40 components of the genome (excepting GC%) deviate significantly from the random distribution model and different types of the genome components are significantly correlated. These results remained to be true even when the genomic regions, such as centromeric regions, where transposable and repeat elements are abundant were excluded from the analyses. These findings suggest that DNA molecules contained in the Arabidopsis genome are each organized and structured from their constituting components in an unambiguous manner and that different types of the components that constitute or characterize the genome interact. The analysis also showed that each chromosome consists of a similar set of the components at similar densities, suggesting that the unique organization and interaction pattern of the components in each chromosome may represent, at least in part, the identity of a chromosome or a genome at the genome level, thus partly accounting for the phenotypic variation among different species. The data also provide comprehensive and new insights into many phenomena significant in genome biology, with which we particularly discuss the variation of genetic recombination. The variation of genetic recombination rate along a chromosomal arm is shaped, not only by the distribution of simple repeats, retrotransposons, DNA transposons, and nucleotide substitutions, but also by the functions of genes contained, especially those with multiple functions, suggesting that variation of genetic recombination along a chromosomal arm is the result of interactions among the components constituting local genome structure, function, and evolution.

published proceedings

  • Genomics

author list (cited authors)

  • Wu, C., Wang, S., & Zhang, H.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Wu, Chengcang||Wang, Suojin||Zhang, Hong-Bin

publication date

  • January 2006