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Genetics. 2005 Dec;171(4):1933-40. Epub 2005 Jun 18.

Genetic consequences of selection during the evolution of cultivated sunflower.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Vanderbilt University, VU Station B 351634, Nashville, TN 37235, USA.


We mapped quantitative trait loci (QTL) controlling differences in seed oil content and composition between cultivated and wild sunflower and used the results, along with those of a previous study of domestication-related QTL, to guide a genome-wide analysis of genetic variation for evidence of past selection. The effects of the seed oil QTL were almost exclusively in the expected direction with respect to the parental phenotypes. A major, oil-related QTL cluster mapped near a cluster of domestication-related QTL on linkage group six (LG06), the majority of which have previously been shown to have effects that are inconsistent with the parental phenotypes. To test the hypothesis that this region was the target of a past selective sweep, perhaps resulting in the fixation of the antagonistic domestication-related QTL, we analyzed simple sequence repeat (SSR) diversity from 102 markers dispersed throughout the sunflower genome. Our results indicate that LG06 was most likely the target of multiple selective sweeps during the postdomestication era. Strong directional selection in concert with genetic hitchhiking therefore offers a possible explanation for the occurrence of numerous domestication-related QTL with apparently maladaptive phenotypic effects.

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