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Genetics. 2013 May;194(1):255-63. doi: 10.1534/genetics.112.146852. Epub 2013 Jan 18.

Genetic dissection of a major anthocyanin QTL contributing to pollinator-mediated reproductive isolation between sister species of Mimulus.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA. toby@uw.edu


Prezygotic barriers play a major role in the evolution of reproductive isolation, which is a prerequisite for speciation. However, despite considerable progress in identifying genes and mutations responsible for postzygotic isolation, little is known about the genetic and molecular basis underlying prezygotic barriers. The bumblebee-pollinated Mimulus lewisii and the hummingbird-pollinated M. cardinalis represent a classic example of pollinator-mediated prezygotic isolation between two sister species in sympatry. Flower color differences resulting from both carotenoid and anthocyanin pigments contribute to pollinator discrimination between the two species in nature. Through fine-scale genetic mapping, site-directed mutagenesis, and transgenic experiments, we demonstrate that a single-repeat R3 MYB repressor, ROSE INTENSITY1 (ROI1), is the causal gene underlying a major quantitative trait locus (QTL) with the largest effect on anthocyanin concentration and that cis-regulatory change rather than coding DNA mutations cause the allelic difference between M. lewisii and M. cardinalis. Together with the genomic resources and stable transgenic tools developed here, these results suggest that Mimulus is an excellent platform for studying the genetics of pollinator-mediated reproductive isolation and the molecular basis of morphological evolution at the most fundamental level-gene by gene, mutation by mutation.

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