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Phytochemistry. 2005 Jun;66(11):1321-33.

Geographic and evolutionary diversification of glucosinolates among near relatives of Arabidopsis thaliana (Brassicaceae).

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Max-Planck-Institute for Chemical Ecology, Genetics and Evolution, Hans-Knoell-Strasse 8, D-07745 Jena, Germany.


Glucosinolates are biologically active secondary metabolites that display both intra- and interspecific variation in the order Brassicales. Glucosinolate profiles have not been interpreted within a phylogenic framework and little is known regarding the processes that influence the evolution of glucosinolate diversity at a macroevolutionary scale. We have analyzed leaf glucosinolate profiles from members of the Brassicaceae that have diverged from Arabidopsis thaliana within the last 15 million years and interpreted our findings relative to the phylogeny of this group. We identified several interspecific polymorphisms in glucosinolate composition. A majority of these polymorphisms are lineage-specific secondary losses of glucosinolate characters, but a gain-of-character polymorphism was also detected. The genetic basis of most observed polymorphisms appears to be regulatory. In the case of A. lyrata, geographic distribution is also shown to contribute to glucosinolate metabolic diversity. Further, we observed evidence of gene-flow between sympatric species, parallel evolution, and the existence of genetic constraints on the evolution of glucosinolates within the Brassicaceae.

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