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Evolutionary genetics of plant adaptation: insights from new model systems
- Zuellig, Matthew P, Kenney, Amanda M, Sweigart, Andrea L
- Current opinion in plant biology 2014 v.18 pp. 44-50
- flowering, genomics, loci, mating systems, plant adaptation, plant genetics, selfing, temporal variation
- Flowering time and mating system divergence are two of the most common adaptive transitions in plants. We review recent progress toward understanding the genetic basis of these adaptations in new model plant species. For flowering time, we find that individual crosses often reveal a simple genetic basis, but that the loci involved almost always vary within species and across environments, indicating a more complex genetic basis species-wide. Similarly, the transition to self-fertilization is often genetically complex, but this seems to depend on the amount of standing variation and time since species divergence. Recent population genomic studies also raise doubts about the long-term adaptive potential of self-fertilization, providing evidence that purifying selection is less effective in highly selfing species.