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Genetica. 2005 Feb;123(1-2):63-74.

Studying genetics of adaptive variation in model organisms: flowering time variation in Arabidopsis lyrata.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Oulu, FIN-90014, Finland.


Arabidopsis thaliana has emerged as a model organism for plant developmental genetics, but it is also now being widely used for population genetic studies. Outcrossing relatives of A. thaliana are likely to provide suitable additional or alternative species for studies of evolutionary and population genetics. We have examined patterns of adaptive flowering time variation in the outcrossing, perennial A. lyrata. In addition, we examine the distribution of variation at marker genes in populations form North America and Europe. The probability of flowering in this species differs between southern and northern populations. Northern populations are much less likely to flower in short than in long days. A significant daylength by region interaction shows that the northern and southern populations respond differently to the daylength. The timing of flowering also differs between populations, and is made shorter by long days, and in some populations, by vernalization. North American and European populations show consistent genetic differentiation over microsatellite and isozyme loci and alcohol dehydrogenase sequences. Thus, the patterns of variation are quite different from those in A. thaliana, where flowering time differences show little relationship to latitude of origin and the genealogical trees of accessions vary depending on the genomic region studied. The genetic architecture of adaptation can be compared in these species with different life histories.

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