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Theor Appl Genet. 2006 Mar;112(5):945-57. Epub 2006 Jan 24.

A microcolinearity study at the earliness per se gene Eps-A(m)1 region reveals an ancient duplication that preceded the wheat-rice divergence.

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Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Wheat flowering is controlled by numerous genes, which respond to environmental signals such as photoperiod and vernalization. Earliness per se (Eps) genes control flowering time independently of these environmental cues and are responsible for the fine tuning of flowering time. We recently mapped the Eps-A(m)1 gene on the end of Triticum monococcum chromosome arm 1A(m)L. As a part of our efforts to clone Eps-A(m)1 we developed PCR markers flanking this gene within a 2.7 cM interval. We screened more than one thousand gametes with these markers and identified 27 lines with recombination between them. Recombinant lines were used to generate a high-density map and to investigate the microcolinearity between wheat and rice in this region. We mapped ten genes from a 149 kb region located at the distal part of rice chromosome 5 (cdo393 - Ndk3) on a 3.7 cM region on wheat chromosome one. This region is part of an ancient duplication between rice chromosomes 5 and 1. Genes present in both rice chromosomes were less similar to each other than to the closest wheat orthologues, suggesting that this duplication preceded the divergence between wheat and rice. This hypothesis was supported by the presence of 18 loci duplicated both in rice chromosomes 5 and 1 and in the colinear wheat chromosomes from homologous groups 1 and 3. Independent gene deletions in wheat and rice lineages explain the alternations of colinearity between rice chromosome 5 and wheat chromosomes 1 and 3. Colinearity between the end of rice chromosome 5 and wheat chromosome 1 was also interrupted by a small inversion, and several non-colinear genes. These results suggest that the distal region of the long arm of wheat chromosome 1 was involved in numerous changes that differentiated wheat and rice genomes. This comparative study provided sufficient markers to saturate the Eps-A(m)1 gene region and to precisely map this gene within a 0.9 cM interval flanked by the VatpC and Smp loci.

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