Gene synteny and evolution of genome architecture in trypanosomatids

Elodie Ghedin, Frederic Bringaud, Jeremy Peterson, Peter Myler, Matthew Berriman, Alasdair Ivens, Björn Andersson, Esteban Bontempi, Jonathan Eisen, Sam Angiuoli, David Wanless, Anna Von Arx, Lee Murphy, Nicola Lennard, Steven Salzberg, Mark D. Adams, Owen White, Neil Hall, Kenneth Stuart, Claire M. FraserNajib M A El-Sayed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The trypanosomatid protozoa Trypanosoma brucei, Trypanosoma cruzi and Leishmania major are related human pathogens that cause markedly distinct diseases. Using information from genome sequencing projects currently underway, we have compared the sequences of large chromosomal fragments from each species. Despite high levels of divergence at the sequence level, these three species exhibit a striking conservation of gene order, suggesting that selection has maintained gene order among the trypanosomatids over hundreds of millions of years of evolution. The few sites of genome rearrangement between these species are marked by the presence of retrotransposon-like elements, suggesting that retrotransposons may have played an important role in shaping trypanosomatid genome organization. A degenerate retroelement was identified in L. major by examining the regions near breakage points of the synteny. This is the first such element found in L. major suggesting that retroelements were found in the common ancestor of all three species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-191
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2004


  • BAC
  • Bacterial artificial chromosome
  • CACK
  • CDS
  • Coding sequence
  • DIRE
  • Degenerated Ingi/L1Tc-related element
  • GSS
  • Genome survey sequence
  • LTR
  • Long terminal repeat
  • Ma
  • Million years ago
  • SIRE
  • Short interspersed repetitive element

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Molecular Biology


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