Insertional variability of four transposable elements and population structure of the midge <i>Chironomus riparius</i> (Diptera)

TitleInsertional variability of four transposable elements and population structure of the midge Chironomus riparius (Diptera)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsZampicinini, G, Cervella P, Biémont C, Sella G
JournalMolecular Genetics and Genomics
KeywordsChironomus, LINE, Population differentiation, SINE, Transposable elements, Transposon display

The dipteran Chironomus riparius is found across the entire Palearctic region; its larvae are among the most abundant macroinvertebrates inhabiting inland waterbodies. Chironomid larvae have been extensively used in ecotoxicological and cytogenetic research, but relatively little is known on the population structure of this species. Transposable elements (TEs) are DNA sequences that are capable of autonomous replication; the number and genomic location of TE insertions varies across individuals; this variability is increasingly being used in population studies. Several TEs had been characterized in Chironomids; this enabled the analysis of insertional variability of four different TEs in six natural populations of C. riparius from Italy, Bulgaria and Russia using a PCR-based method, transposon insertion display (TID). The method allows to obtain dominant markers, similar to AFLP. In all populations, TE insertions showed high individual polymorphism, while median copy numbers of the same TEs did not vary between populations. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) detected significant differentiation between populations for three of the TEs; although no correlation between genetic and geographic distances was found, the corresponding population structures were found to be significantly correlated and indicate a degree of isolation by distance. TEs belonging to different classes have different mechanisms of replication, resulting in different transposition rates of mobilization; the finding of mostly concordant population structuring for three of the TEs indicates that population dynamics contributed significantly in shaping the detected insertional polymorphism.


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