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Genetics. Mar 2004; 166(3): 1419–1436.
PMCID: PMC1470761

Functional divergence in tandemly duplicated Arabidopsis thaliana trypsin inhibitor genes.


In multigene families, variation among loci and alleles can contribute to trait evolution. We explored patterns of functional and genetic variation in six duplicated Arabidopsis thaliana trypsin inhibitor (ATTI) loci. We demonstrate significant variation in constitutive and herbivore-induced transcription among ATTI loci that show, on average, 65% sequence divergence. Significant variation in ATTI expression was also found between two molecularly defined haplotype classes. Population genetic analyses for 17 accessions of A. thaliana showed that six ATTI loci arranged in tandem within 10 kb varied 10-fold in nucleotide diversity, from 0.0009 to 0.0110, and identified a minimum of six recombination events throughout the tandem array. We observed a significant peak in nucleotide and indel polymorphism spanning ATTI loci in the interior of the array, due primarily to divergence between the two haplotype classes. Significant deviation from the neutral equilibrium model for individual genes was interpreted within the context of intergene linkage disequilibrium and correlated patterns of functional differentiation. In contrast to the outcrosser Arabidopsis lyrata for which recombination is observed even within ATTI loci, our data suggest that response to selection was slowed in the inbreeding, annual A. thaliana because of interference among functionally divergent ATTI loci.

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