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Genetics. 2008 Oct;180(2):945-55. doi: 10.1534/genetics.107.085084. Epub 2008 Oct 14.

Adaptive differentiation of quantitative traits in the globally distributed weed, wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum).

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  • 1Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA. sahli@hawaii.edu

Abstract

Weedy species with wide geographical distributions may face strong selection to adapt to new environments, which can lead to adaptive genetic differentiation among populations. However, genetic drift, particularly due to founder effects, will also commonly result in differentiation in colonizing species. To test whether selection has contributed to trait divergence, we compared differentiation at eight microsatellite loci (measured as F(ST)) to differentiation of quantitative floral and phenological traits (measured as Q(ST)) of wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum) across populations from three continents. We sampled eight populations: seven naturalized populations and one from its native range. By comparing estimates of Q(ST) and F(ST), we found that petal size was the only floral trait that may have diverged more than expected due to drift alone, but inflorescence height, flowering time, and rosette formation have greatly diverged between the native and nonnative populations. Our results suggest the loss of a rosette and the evolution of early flowering time may have been the key adaptations enabling wild radish to become a major agricultural weed. Floral adaptation to different pollinators does not seem to have been as necessary for the success of wild radish in new environments.

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