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Mol Biol Evol. 2002 Aug;19(8):1261-71.

DNA polymorphism at the FRIGIDA gene in Arabidopsis thaliana: extensive nonsynonymous variation is consistent with local selection for flowering time.

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Laboratoire Malherbologie et Agronomie, INRA, Dijon Cedex, France.


FRIGIDA (FRI) is a major gene involved in the regulation of flowering time in Arabidopsis thaliana. Nucleotide variation at this gene was investigated by sequencing 25 field ecotypes collected from western Europe. Genetic diversity at FRI was characterized by a high number of haplotypes and an excess of low-frequency polymorphisms. A large excess of intraspecific nonsynonymous variation associated with low synonymous variation was detected along the first exon in the FRI gene. In contrast, no excess of nonsynonymous divergence was detected between A. thaliana and A. lyrata. The Tajima and McDonald and Kreitman tests, however, suggested that this gene has evolved in a nonneutral fashion. Nonsynonymous variation included eight loss-of-function mutations that have probably arisen recently and independently in several locations. A phenotypic evaluation of the sequenced ecotypes confirmed that these loss-of-function mutations were associated with an early-flowering phenotype. Taken together, our results suggest that DNA polymorphism at the FRI gene in A. thaliana from western Europe has been shaped by recent positive selection for earliness in a set of isolated populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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