About 90 members of a major tandemly repeated DNA sequence family originally described in rye as pSc119.2 have been isolated from 11 diploid and polyploid Triticeae species using primers from along the length of the sequence for PCR amplification. Alignment and similarity analysis showed that the 120-bp repeat unit family is diverse with single nucleotide changes and few insertions and deletions occurring throughout the sequence, with no characteristic genome or species-specific variants having developed during evolution of the extant genomes. Fluorescent in situ hybridization showed that each of the large blocks of the repeat at chromosomal sites harboured many variants of the 120-bp repeat. There were substantial copy number differences between genomes, with abundant sub-terminal sites in rye, interstitial sites in the B genome of wheat, and relatively few sites in the A and D genome. We conclude that sequence homogenization events have not been operative in this repeat and that the common ancestor of the Triticeae tribe had multiple sequences of the 120-bp repeat with a range of variation not unlike that seen within and between species today. This diversity has been maintained when sites are moved within the genome and in all species since their divergence within the Triticeae.   

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