Journal Club 20 Sept 2016: Novel Insights into Chromosome Evolution in Birds, Archosaurs, and Reptiles
It is known from work on mammals that genome structure and chromosome breakpoints are enriched for distinct DNA features, contributing to distinct phenotypes. This has been less studied in birds, but a new study by Farre et al. (2016) make an important contribution. They compared whole-genome sequences of 21 birds and 5 outgroup species. They found that genes involved in the regulation of gene expression and biosynthetic processes were more often located conserved genomic regions, than outside such regions. Concerning breakpoints, they suggest that lineage-specific changes have rearranged genes related to some distinct phenotypes (e.g. forebrain development in parrots).
Figure 1 from Farre et al. (2016): multispecies alignment of chicken chromosome 5 in 21 birds and 5 outgroups showing conserved genome structures and breakpoints.