Fitness costs of R-gene-mediated resistance in Arabidopsis thaliana

D. Tian, M. B. Traw, J. Q. Chen, M. Kreitman, J. Bergelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Resistance genes (R-genes) act as an immune system in plants by recognizing pathogens and inducing defensive pathways. Many R-gene loci are present in plant genomes, presumably reflecting the need to maintain a large repertoire of resistance alleles. These loci also often segregate for resistance and susceptibility alleles that natural selection has maintained as polymorphisms within a species for millions of years. Given the obvious advantage to an individual of being disease resistant, what prevents these resistance alleles from being driven to fixation by natural selection? A cost of resistance is one potential explanation; most models require a lower fitness of resistant individuals in the absence of pathogens for long-term persistence of susceptibility alleles. Here we test for the presence of a cost of resistance at the RPM1 locus of Arabidopsis thaliana. Results of a field experiment comparing the fitness of isogenic strains that differ in the presence or absence of RPM1 and its natural promoter reveal a large cost of RPM1, providing the first evidence that costs contribute to the maintenance of an ancient R-gene polymorphism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-77
Number of pages4
Issue number6935
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Fitness costs of R-gene-mediated resistance in Arabidopsis thaliana'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this