1. Evolutionary Biology
  2. Genetics and Genomics
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Evolutionary dynamics of circular RNAs in primates

  1. Gabriela Santos-Rodriguez
  2. Irina Voineagu
  3. Robert James Weatheritt  Is a corresponding author
  1. Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Australia
  2. UNSW Sydney, Australia
Research Article
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Cite this article as: eLife 2021;10:e69148 doi: 10.7554/eLife.69148

Abstract

Many primate genes produce circular RNAs (circRNAs). However, the extent of circRNA conservation between closely related species remains unclear. By comparing tissue-specific transcriptomes across over 70 million years of primate evolution, we identify that within 3 million years circRNA expression profiles diverged such that they are more related to species identity than organ type. However, our analysis also revealed a subset of circRNAs with conserved neural expression across tens of millions of years of evolution. By comparing to species-specific circRNAs, we identified that the downstream intron of the conserved circRNAs display a dramatic lengthening during evolution due to the insertion of novel retrotransposons. Our work provides comparative analyses of the mechanisms promoting circRNAs to generate increased transcriptomic complexity in primates.

Data availability

All datasets used in this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Analyzed data is also included in supporting material as well.

The following previously published data sets were used

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Gabriela Santos-Rodriguez

    Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-9076-0294
  2. Irina Voineagu

    UNSW Sydney, Sydney, Australia
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Robert James Weatheritt

    Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia
    For correspondence
    r.weatheritt@garvan.org.au
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-3716-1783

Funding

Australian Research Council

  • Irina Voineagu
  • Robert James Weatheritt

Cancer Institute of NSW

  • Robert James Weatheritt

UNSW UIPA PhD Scholarship

  • Gabriela Santos-Rodriguez

University of New South Wales Scientia Fellowship

  • Irina Voineagu

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Juan Valcárcel, Centre de Regulació Genòmica (CRG), Spain

Publication history

  1. Received: April 6, 2021
  2. Preprint posted: May 1, 2021 (view preprint)
  3. Accepted: September 6, 2021
  4. Accepted Manuscript published: September 20, 2021 (version 1)
  5. Version of Record published: October 14, 2021 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2021, Santos-Rodriguez et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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