Molecular population genetics of floral homeotic loci: Departures from the equilibrium-neutral model at the APETALA3 and PISTILLATA genes of Arabidopsis thaliana

Michael D. Purugganan, Jane I. Suddith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Molecular variation in genes that regulate development provides insights into the evolutionary processes that shape the diversification of morphogenetic pathways. Intraspecific sequence variation at the APETALA3 and PISTILLATA floral homeotic genes of Arabidopsis thaliana was analyzed to infer the extent and nature of diversity at these regulatory loci. Comparison of AP3 and PI diversity with three previously studied genes revealed several features in the patterning of nucleotide polymorphisms common between Arabidopsis nuclear loci, including an excess of low-frequency nucleotide polymorphisms and significantly elevated levels of intraspecific replacement variation. This pattern suggests that A. thaliana has undergone recent, rapid population expansion and now exists in small, inbred subpopulations. The elevated intraspecific replacement levels may thus represent slightly deleterious polymorphisms that differentiate distinct ecotypes. The distribution of replacement and synonymous changes in AP3 and PI core and noncore functional domains also indicates differences in the patterns of molecular evolution between these interacting floral regulatory genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)839-848
Number of pages10
JournalGenetics
Volume151
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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