Satellite DNA evolution in Corvoidea inferred from short and long reads

Valentina Peona, Verena E. Kutschera, Mozes P. K. Blom, Martin Irestedt, Alexander Suh

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Satellite DNA (satDNA) is a fast-evolving portion of eukaryotic genomes. The homogeneous and repetitive nature of such satDNA causes problems during the assembly of genomes, and therefore it is still difficult to study it in detail in nonmodel organisms as well as across broad evolutionary timescales. Here, we combined the use of short- and long-read data to explore the diversity and evolution of satDNA between individuals of the same species and between genera of birds spanning ~40 millions of years of bird evolution using birds-of-paradise (Paradisaeidae) and crow (Corvus) species. These avian species highlighted the presence of a GC-rich Corvoidea satellitome composed of 61 satellite families and provided a set of candidate satDNA monomers for being centromeric on the basis of length, abundance, homogeneity and transcription. Surprisingly, we found that the satDNA of crow species rapidly diverged between closely related species while the satDNA appeared more similar between birds-of-paradise species belonging to different genera.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1288-1305
Number of pages18
JournalMolecular Ecology
Issue number6
Early online date14 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • base composition
  • birds
  • birds-of-paradise
  • comparative genomics
  • crow
  • genomic dark matter
  • satellitome

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