Replication origin location might contribute to genetic variability in Trypanosoma cruzi

Background DNA replication in trypanosomatids operates in a uniquely challenging environment, since most of their genomes are constitutively transcribed. Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiological agent of Chagas disease, presents high variability in both chromosomes size and copy number among strains, though the underlying mechanisms are unknown. Results Here we have mapped sites of DNA replication initiation across the T. cruzi genome using Marker Frequency Analysis, which has previously only been deployed in two related trypanosomatids. The putative origins identified in T. cruzi show a notable enrichment of GC content, a preferential position at subtelomeric regions, coinciding with genes transcribed towards the telomeres, and a pronounced enrichment within coding DNA sequences, most notably in genes from the Dispersed Gene Family 1 (DGF-1). Conclusions These findings suggest a scenario where collisions between DNA replication and transcription are frequent, leading to increased genetic variability, as seen by the increase SNP levels at chromosome subtelomeres and in DGF-1 genes containing putative origins.
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Replication origins;  Trypanosoma cruzi;  Genetic variability;  DGF-1

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