The identification and characterization of microsatellites in the compact genome of the Japanese Pufferfish, Fugu rubripes: Perspectives in functional and comparative genomic analyses

Academic Article


  • Fugu rubripes (Fugu) has one of the smallest recorded vertebrate genomes and is an economic tool for comparative DNA sequence analysis. Initial characterization of 128 kb of Fugu DNA attributed the compactness of this genome, in part, to a sparseness of repetitive DNA sequence compared with mammalian genomic sequences. This paper describes a new and comprehensive analysis in which 501 theoretically possible microsatellites with a repeat unit of one to six bases were used to query two orders of magnitude more Fugu DNA (i.e. 11.338 Mb). A total of 6042 microsatellites were identified and categorized. In decreasing order, the 20 most frequently occurring microsatellites are AC, A, C, AGG, AG, AGC, AAT, AAAT, ACAG, ACGC, ATCC, AAC, ATC, AGGG, AAAG, AAG, AAAC, AT, CCG and TTAGGG. The 20 most frequently occurring microsatellites represent 81.79% of all microsatellites identified. Our results indicate that one microsatellite occurs every 1.876 kb of DNA in Fugu, 11.55% of the microsatellites are detected in open reading frames that are predicted protein coding regions. With respect to the proportion of microsatellites present in open reading frames and the total abundance (bp) of all microsatellites, the genome of Fugu is similar to the genome of many other vertebrate species. Previous estimates performed indicate that approximately 1% of many vertebrate genomes are comprized of microsatellite sequences. However, many differences prevail in the abundance and frequency of the individual microsatellite classes. Many of the frequently occurring microsatellites in Fugu are known to code in other species for regions in proteins such as transcription factors, whilst others are associated with known functions, such as transcription factor binding sites and form part of promoter regions in DNA sequences of genes. Therefore, it is likely that such repeats in genomes have a role in the evolution of genes, regulation of gene expression and consequently the evolution of species.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Edwards YJK; Elgar G; Clark MS; Bishop MJ
  • Start Page

  • 843
  • End Page

  • 854
  • Volume

  • 278
  • Issue

  • 4