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Data from: Recurrent losses and rapid evolution of the condensin II complex in insects

Cite this dataset

King, Thomas D. et al. (2019). Data from: Recurrent losses and rapid evolution of the condensin II complex in insects [Dataset]. Dryad.


Condensins play a crucial role in the organization of genetic material by compacting and disentangling chromosomes. Based on studies in a few model organisms, the condensin I and condensin II complexes are considered to have distinct functions, with the condensin II complex playing a role in meiosis and somatic pairing of homologous chromosomes in Drosophila. Intriguingly, the Cap-G2 subunit of condensin II is absent in Drosophila melanogaster, and this loss may be related to the high levels of chromosome pairing seen in flies. Here, we find that all three non-SMC subunits of condensin II (Cap-G2, Cap-D3, and Cap-H2) have been repeatedly and independently lost in taxa representing multiple insect orders, with some taxa lacking all three. We also find that all non-Dipteran insects display near-uniform low pairing levels regardless of their condensin II complex composition, suggesting that some key aspects of genome organization are robust to condensin II subunit losses. Finally, we observe consistent signatures of positive selection in condensin subunits across flies and mammals. These findings suggest that these ancient complexes are far more evolutionarily labile than previously suspected, and are at the crossroads of several forms of genomic conflicts. Our results raise fundamental questions about the specific functions of the two condensin complexes in taxa that have experienced subunit losses, and open the door to further investigations to elucidate the diversity of molecular mechanisms that underlie genome organization across various life forms.

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