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Bioessays. 2005 May;27(5):472-6.

How and when did Arabidopsis thaliana become highly self-fertilising.

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Institute of Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.


Changes in breeding system are a regular evolutionary change in plants, as self-fertilisation is often advantageous, particularly for weedy and colonising species. The adoption of Arabidopsis thaliana as a plant model species has led to interest in how self-incompatibility was lost so that this species became highly inbreeding. Molecular evolutionary approaches have recently focused on investigating two loci involved in the incompatibility recognition process in related Arabidopsis species; non-functional copies of these genes still exist in A. thaliana. New work studying polymorphism at these loci found strikingly low diversity at one of them, suggesting that spread of a mutation in this gene might have caused self-compatibility in an ancestor of A. thaliana. However, it is difficult to be sure of the time when the selfing habit evolved in the lineage that led to A. thaliana.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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