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Data from: Ribosomal DNA sequence heterogeneity reflects intra-species phylogenies and predicts genome structure in two contrasting yeast species

Citation

West, Claire et al. (2014), Data from: Ribosomal DNA sequence heterogeneity reflects intra-species phylogenies and predicts genome structure in two contrasting yeast species, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0674n

Abstract

The ribosomal RNA encapsulates a wealth of evolutionary information, including genetic variation that can be used to discriminate between organisms at a wide range of taxonomic levels. For example, the prokaryotic 16S rDNA sequence is very widely used both in phylogenetic studies and as a marker in metagenomic surveys and the ITS region, frequently used in plant phylogenetics, is now recognised as a fungal DNA barcode. However, this widespread use does not escape criticism, principally due to issues such as difficulties in classification of paralogous versus orthologous rDNA units and intragenomic variation, both of which may be significant barriers to accurate phylogenetic inference. We recently analysed datasets from the Saccharomyces Genome Resequencing Project, characterising rDNA sequence variation within multiple strains of the baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and its nearest wild relative Saccharomyces paradoxus in unprecedented detail. Notably, both species possess single locus rDNA systems. Here, we use these new variation datasets to assess whether a more detailed characterisation of the rDNA locus can alleviate the second of these phylogenetic issues, sequence heterogeneity, while controlling for the first. We demonstrate that a strong phylogenetic signal exists within both datasets and illustrate how they can be used, with existing methodology, to estimate intra-species phylogenies of yeast strains consistent with those derived from whole-genome approaches. We also describe the use of partial Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, a type of sequence variation found only in repetitive genomic regions, in identifying key evolutionary features such as genome hybridisation events and show their consistency with whole-genome Structure analyses. We conclude that our approach can transform rDNA sequence heterogeneity from a problem to a useful source of evolutionary information, enabling the estimation of highly accurate phylogenies of closely related organisms, and discuss how it could be extended to future studies of multi-locus rDNA systems.

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