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Genetics. Feb 2003; 163(2): 735–746.
PMCID: PMC1462445

Natural selection for polymorphism in the disease resistance gene Rps2 of Arabidopsis thaliana.

Abstract

Pathogen resistance is an ecologically important phenotype increasingly well understood at the molecular genetic level. In this article, we examine levels of avrRpt2-dependent resistance and Rps2 locus DNA sequence variability in a worldwide sample of 27 accessions of Arabidopsis thaliana. The rooted parsimony tree of Rps2 sequences drawn from a diverse set of ecotypes includes a deep bifurcation separating major resistance and susceptibility clades of alleles. We find evidence for selection maintaining these alleles and identify the N-terminal part of the leucine-rich repeat region as a probable target of selection. Additional protein variants are found within the two major clades and correlate well with measurable differences among ecotypes in resistance to the avirulence gene avrRpt2 of the pathogen Pseudomonas syringae. Long-lived polymorphisms have been observed for other resistance genes of A. thaliana; the Rps2 data suggest that the long-term maintenance of phenotypic variation in resistance genes may be a general phenomenon and are consistent with diversifying selection acting in concert with selection to maintain variation.

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Selected References

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