Wegrzyn JL, Lin BY, Zieve JJ, Dougherty WM, Martínez-García PJ, Koriabine M, Holtz-Morris A, Dejong P, Crepeau M, Langley CH, Puiu D, Salzberg SL, Neale DB, Stevens KA
Despite their prevalence and importance, the genome sequences of loblolly pine, Norway spruce, and white spruce, three ecologically and economically important conifer species, are just becoming available to the research community. Following the completion of these large assemblies, annotation efforts will be undertaken to characterize the reference sequences. Accurate annotation of these ancient genomes would be aided by a comprehensive repeat library; however, few studies have generated enough sequence to fully evaluate and catalog their non-genic content. In this paper, two sets of loblolly pine genomic sequence, 103 previously assembled BACs and 90,954 newly sequenced and assembled fosmid scaffolds, were analyzed. Together, this sequence represents 280 Mbp (roughly 1% of the loblolly pine genome) and one of the most comprehensive studies of repetitive elements and genes in a gymnosperm species. A combination of homology and de novo methodologies were applied to identify both conserved and novel repeats. Similarity analysis estimated a repetitive content of 27% that included both full and partial elements. When combined with the de novo investigation, the estimate increased to almost 86%. Over 60% of the repetitive sequence consists of full or partial LTR (long terminal repeat) retrotransposons. Through de novo approaches, 6,270 novel, full-length transposable element families and 9,415 sub-families were identified. Among those 6,270 families, 82% were annotated as single-copy. Several of the novel, high-copy families are described here, with the largest, PtPiedmont, comprising 133 full-length copies. In addition to repeats, analysis of the coding region reported 23 full-length eukaryotic orthologous proteins (KOGS) and another 29 novel or orthologous genes. These discoveries, along with other genomic resources, will be used to annotate conifer genomes and address long-standing questions about gymnosperm evolution.