Core-SINE blocks comprise a large fraction of monotreme genomes; implications for vertebrate chromosome evolution Academic Article uri icon


  • The genomes of the egg-laying platypus and echidna are of particular interest because monotremes are the most basal mammal group. The chromosomal distribution of an ancient family of short interspersed repeats (SINEs), the core-SINEs, was investigated to better understand monotreme genome organization and evolution. Previous studies have identified the core-SINE as the predominant SINE in the platypus genome, and in this study we quantified, characterized and localized subfamilies. Dot blot analysis suggested that a very large fraction (32% of the platypus and 16% of the echidna genome) is composed of Mon core-SINEs. Core-SINE-specific primers were used to amplify PCR products from platypus and echidna genomic DNA. Sequence analysis suggests a common consensus sequence Mon 1-B, shared by platypus and echidna, as well as platypus-specific Mon 1-C and echidna specific Mon 1-D consensus sequences. FISH mapping of the Mon core-SINE products to platypus metaphase spreads demonstrates that the Mon-1C subfamily is responsible for the striking Mon core-SINE accumulation in the distal regions of the six large autosomal pairs and the largest X chromosome. This unusual distribution highlights the dichotomy between the seven large chromosome pairs and the 19 smaller pairs in the monotreme karyotype, which has some similarity to the macro- and micro-chromosomes of birds and reptiles, and suggests that accumulation of repetitive sequences may have enlarged small chromosomes in an ancestral vertebrate. In the forthcoming sequence of the platypus genome there are still large gaps, and the extensive Mon core-SINE accumulation on the distal regions of the six large autosomal pairs may provide one explanation for this missing sequence.


  • Graves, Jenny
  • Kirby, Patrick J
  • Greaves, Ian K
  • Koina, Edda
  • Waters, Paul D
  • Marshall Graves, Jennifer A

publication date

  • December 2007